The Reformed Presbyterian Catechism
An Analysis of the Covenanting Reformation Ideals
William Roberts DD
Christ's Mediatorial Dominion in general 4
Christ's exclusive Headship over the Church 13
The Supreme and Ultimate Authority of the Word of God in the Church 29
Civil Government the Moral Ordinance of God 35
Christ's Headship over the Nations 41
The Subjection of the Nations to God and to Christ 47
The Word, or Revealed Will of God, the Supreme Law in the State 81
The Duty of Nations, in their National Capacity, to acknowledge and support the
True Religion 104
The Spiritual Independence of the Church of Christ 118
The Right and Duty of Dissent from an immoral Constitution
of Civil Government 127
The Duty of Covenanting, and the Permanent Obligations of
Religious Covenants 134
The Application of these Principles to the Governments,
where Reformed Presbyterians reside, in the form of a Practical Testimony 152
Application of the Testimony to the British Empire 179
A CATECHETICAL EXPOSITION OF THE PECULIAR AND MORE
PROMINENT PRINCIPLES Of The Reformed Presbyterian Church
Question. How many are the peculiar and more prominent principles of the Reformed
Q. What are these?
A. The doctrines of
1. Christ's Mediatorial Dominion in general.
2. his Exclusive Headship over the Church.
3. The supremacy and ultimate authority of the word God in the church.
4. Civil government a moral ordinance of God.
5. Christ's headship over the nations.
6. The subjection of the nations to God and to Christ.
7. The word of God the supreme rule in the state.
8. The duty of nations to acknowledge and support the true Christian religion.
9. The spiritual independence of the Church of Christ.
10. The right and duty of dissent from an immoral constitution of civil government.
11. The duty of social covenanting, and the permanent obligation of religious covenants.
12. The application of these doctrines in the form of a practical testimony, to the civil
governments where Reformed Presbyterians reside.
Q. What is meant by "peculiar" principles?
A. Those which distinguish Reformed Presbyterians from other Christian denominations.
Q. What is meant by " prominent " principles?
A. Those which, though hold by some other denominations, are not made practically a
part of their testimony.
On Christ's Mediatorial Dominion in General
Q. What is the import of the title mediator given to Jesus Christ?
A. It is all official title, which exhibits Christ as transacting between God and man for
man's salvation; and in the discharge of the functions of this office, he acts 111 the capa-
city of the Father's servant. 1 Tim. ii. 5. There is but one mediator between God and man,
Jesus Christ. Heb. xii. 24. To Jesus the mediator of the new covenant. Isa. xlii. 1 . Behold
my servant whom I uphold : applied to Christ, Matt. xii. 18. Isa. liii. 11. "My righteous
Q. What is the dominion of Christ?
A. The authority, or unlimited power, which he possesses over the creatures.
Q. What is his mediatorial dominion?
A. Not that which essentially belongs to him as God, but that with which he has been
officially invested as the Messiah, by the authoritative act of the Father.
Q. What is the essential dominion of Christ?
A. It is that which pertains to him as the Son of God, a Person in the Godhead, 'and is the
same with that of the Father and the Holy Ghost, original, inherent, and underived.
Q. His mediatorial dominion is, then, that which was delegated, conferred by gift,
bestowed by the Father, in short, " the government" which was " laid upon his shoul-
ders,"-that " power" which was " given him in heaven and in earth" ?
A. Yes. Because, as the Son of God essentially viewed, he cannot be the recipient of a
gift, "but is equal in power and glory with the Father: '
Q. Do his essential and mediatorial kingdom differ in matter or extent ?
A. No. They are really the same, both in matter and extent; the difference consists in this :
The kingdom over which he, as the Son of God, rules by inherent and original right, he is,
as mediator, authorized to manage and direct, for a new end, namely, the salvation of
men, and the best interests of the church.
Q. By whom was Christ appointed to this mediatorial dominion ?
A. By the Father. Ps. ii. 0. "Yet have 1 set my king upon my holy hill of Zion." Luke xxii.
29. "My Father hath appointed unto me a kingdom." See John v. 20, 27.
Q. When was he appointed ? .
A From all eternity. Prov. viii. 23. "I was act up from everlasting." See Ps. ii. 6, 7. Mai. v.
Q. In what transaction ?
A. In the covenant of grace. Ps. lxxxix. 3, 4. "I have made a covenant with my chosen, I
have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy
throne to all generations."
Q. What is this covenant ?
A. It comprises the whole scheme agreed upon by the divine persons for the salvation of
Q. In what capacity did the Father make this appointment ?
A. As the representative of Deity in the economy of redemption.
Q. Did not this appointment proceed from the Father necessarily and originally by an
A. No. This would be at variance with the perfect equality subsisting among the divine
Q. Were the divine persons designated to their respective economical characters And
offices by a sovereign Act of the divine will, essentially considered ?
A. Yes. For this presupposed act preserves inviolate the essential equality of the persons
in the Godhead.
Q. Has not all power and authority been, by this sovereign act of the divine will,
economically vested in the Father ?
Q. Does this appointment of the Son proceed formally from this economical authority
with which the Father is thus invested?
Q. Is it not necessary to suppose that the Son was designated to his mediatory office and
dominion by the above mentioned sovereign act of the divine will ?
A. Yes. For thisview of the case preserves inviolate the voluntariness of the Son in the
whole transaction, as well as his equality with the Father.
Q. What the first source of proof of the reality of Christ's mediatorial dominion?
A. Several interesting prefigurations of his royal authority.
Q. Was not Melchizedec one of these instructive types of Christ's dominion ?
A. Yes. He was a distinguished type of Christ. Ps ex. 4. "Thou art a priest for ever after
the order of Melchizedec."
Q. How is it evident that he was a type of Christ's royal dominion ?
A. Ill three ways. 1. The import of his name, Heb. vii. 2. " King of righteousness."
Beautifully prefiguring Christ as the Sun of righteousness-the sceptre of whose kingdom
is a right sceptre. 2. His designation "King of Salem," Heb. vii. 2. That is " King of
Peace"-fitly representing Him who is designated the Prince of Peace. 3. His combining in
his own person the royal and sacerdotal offices, he was a royal priest-a sacerdotal King,
and suitable type of Him who, exercising his power upon the footing of his purchase, sits
"a priest upon his throne."
Q. Was Moses an eminent type of Christ in his mediatorial dominion ?
A. Yes. As "King in Jeshuran". Jeshuran, which signifies "upright," refers to the people
of Israel, who were required and understood to possess this character. The Jewish
legislator later thus typified Him, who, being "King in Zion," rules among the upright in
heart, and governs them in integrity and truth.
Q. Was David another of these royal types ?
A. Yes. Particularly in his signal overthrow of Goliath the vaunting champion of the
Philistines, in his valour in war, and wisdom and humanity in peace, in the principles and
character of his administration, in which he led his people, according to the integrity of
his heart, and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands, and in the covenant of royalty
he made with him and his seed forever.
Q. Wherein does David's typical character most remarkably appear ?
A. 1 . In the fact that the Messiah himself is repeatedly spoken of by the prophets under
the very name of David Jer xxx. 9. "They shall serve the Lord their God, and their King,
whom I will raise up unto them." Hos iii, 5 "Afterwards shall the children of Israel return,
and seek the Lord their God and David their King; and shall fear Lord and his goodness
in the latter days." See also Ezek xxxiv. 24. 2. In the fact that Christ in his incarnation
described as recovering the throne of David his father according to the flesh. Luke i. 32,
Q. Was not Solomon the most illustrious type of Christ's mediatorial dominion ?
A. Yes. In the wisdom of his administration-the extent of territory over which he reigned-
the wealth of his subjects and the peacefulness of his reign, He was a remarkable of the
Messiah-so much so that in Song iii. 11, Christ is designated by his name, "Go forth ye
daughters of Zion behold King Solomon with the crown wherewith his crowned him in
the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart."
Q. What is the second source of proof of the re Christ's mediatorial rule ?
A. Prophecy is a fruitful source of evidence in favour of his royalty.
Q. Which is the first proof from this source?
A. The very first prediction, Gen. iii. 15. "It," the seed of the woman, "shall bruise thy
head," is conceived in terms which allude to the ancient mode by which victorious kings
expressed their conquests, namely, by placing their feet upon the necks of their
Q. Which is the second proof from prophecy ?
A. The language of the patriarch Jacob, Gen. xlix. 10. "The sceptre shall not depart from
Judah, nor a lawgiver front between his feet until Shiloh come," clearly imports that, on
Christ, at his coming, shall devolve that judicial and legislative authority which had been
previously exercised by others.
Q. Which is the third evidence from this source ?
A. The prophecy of Balaam, Num. xxiv. 17. "There shall come a star out of Jacob, and a
sceptre (the emblem of regal power) shall rise out of Israel."
Q. Which is the, fourth proof from prophecy ?
A. The declaration of David in the second psalm, "Yet have I set my King upon my holy
hill of Zion." Applied to Christ, Acts iv. 25, 20.
Q. Which is the fifth proof?
A. The forty-fifth psalm, which undoubtedly refers to the Messiah, and in which the royal
character is sustained throughout: verses 1, 3, 6. "I speak of the things which I have made
touching the King-gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy
majesty. Thy throne, God, is forever and ever; the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right
sceptre." Applied to Christ, Heb. i. 8.
Q. Which is the sixth proof, among many others which may be adduced from prophecy?
A. The forty-seventh psalm, which undoubtedly refers to the Lord Jesus in his ascension
from the mount of Olives, " God is gone up with a shout, " and in which also the regal
character is sustained throughout: verses 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, &c. "The Lord most high is terrible;
he is a great King over all the earth-he shall subdue the people under us, and the nations
under our feet; sing praises unto our King, for God is the King of all the earth ; God
reigneth over the heathen ; God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness.
Q. Do not the titles given to Christ afford another source of proof in favour of his
mediatorial dominion ?
A. Yes. They afford ample and conclusive testimony.
Q. Which is the first title?
A. He is designated "Lord" Acts ii. 11, "God hath made that same Jesus whom you have
crucified, both Lord and Christ"
Q. Which is the second title ?
A. Leader and Commander. Is. lv. 4, "I have given him for a witness to the people ; a
Leader and Commander to the people."
Q. Which is the third title ?
A He is entitled Judge. Is. xxxiii. 22, "The Lord is our Judge."
Q. Which is the fourth title ?
A. He is denominated a Ruler. Mic. v. 2, "Out of thee, (Bethlehem Ephratah) shall he
come forth unto me that is to be Ruler in Israel."
Q. Which is his fifth title ?
A. He is called the " Captain of the Hosts of the Lord." Josh, v. 14.
Q. Which is his sixth title ?
A. "Prince of the kings of the earth ;" "King of kings." Rev. i. 5, xvii. 14, xix. 16, "Jesus
Christ, the Prince of the kings of the earth, -the Lamb is Lord of lords, and King of kings,-
he hath on his vesture and thigh a name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords."
Q. Does not Christ himself claim this dominion ?
A. Yes. John xviii. 37. "Thou sayest, (Pilate,) I am a king. To this end was I born."
Q. Does not the Father acknowledge his claim ?
A. Yes. Ps. xxi. 3, Phil. ii. 9, 10, 11, "Thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head."
"Wherefore God also bath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above
every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and
things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the
Q. Do not angels proclaim his sovereignty?
A. Yes. Luke i. 31-33, Rev. v. 11, 12. Gabriel thus proclaims his glory: "He shall be
great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest ; and the Lord God shall give unto him
the throne of his father David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of
his kingdom there shall be no end." " And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels
saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches,
and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing."
Q. Did not the wise men of the east recognize his royalty, and perform an act of homage?
A. Yes. They proclaimed him "King of the Jews," and unfolding their gifts, laid them at
his feet,. Matt. ii. 2.
Q. Did not Nathaniel witness this good confession?
A. Yes. He confessed he was " the King of Israel." John. i. 49.
Q. Does not Paul make the like confession?
A. Yes. He proclaims him "the King eternal." 1 Tim. i. 17.
Q. Do not his enemies proclaim his great dominion ?
A. Yes. The Jewish multitude rent the air with their shouts as he entered into Jerusalem,
crying, "Hosanna! Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord!"
The Roman soldiers unwittingly bore their part as they bowed the knee before him, and
mocked him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" And Pontius Pilate inscribed upon his
cross the unalterable title, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews," Jno. xix. 12,-a title
which was, perhaps, the principal means of conveying to the malefactor that knowledge
of the Saviour's character which led to his Conversion.
Q. Are not, royal appendages assigned him?
A. Yes. He has a kingdom, a throne, a radiant crown. He sways a sceptre, the symbol of
royal authority, and hath a numerous and glorious retinue. Ps. xlv. 5, 6; cii. 2; ii 9; xxi.;
viii. 5 ; cxxxii. 18 ; Rev. iii. 21 ; Deut. xxxiii. 2; Lu ii. 13, 14 ; Ps. lxviii. 17 ; Dan. viii.
10; Jude, 14.
Q. What is the extent of Christ's mediatorial dominion
A. It is universal.
Q. Is it not limited to the church ?
A. No. The church is the special kingdom of Christ - the great central province of his
empire, around which other provinces are made to revolve. Therefore the dominion of
Christ necessarily extends beyond its hallowed precincts Eph. i. 22, "And hath put all
things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church."
Q. Why is it necessary that Christ's mediatorial dominion should extend beyond the
limits of the church, or be universal?
A. It is necessary, 1 . That he might give a general commission to his ministers to go forth
among the hostile nations and preach his gospel. Matt xxviii. 18, 19, " power is given
unto me in heaven and in earth; go therefore, and teach all nations." 2. That he might
gather from among them his elect. Jno. xvii. 2, "Glorify thy Son as thou hast given him
power over all flesh, that he might give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him" 3.
As a reward of his mediatorial sufferings. Rev. iii. 21, "To that, overcometh will I grant
to sit with me on my throne even as I also overcame and am set down with my Father on
his throne." See also Phil, ii. 8, 9. 4. To subdue all his own and his people's enemies. "He
must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet," I Cor. xv. 26.
Q. Is not the gospel call, as it is general to all that hear it, founded rather upon Christ's
kingly than his priestly office?
A. Yes; for Christ says, Matt, xxviii. 18, 19, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in
earth: go ye, then and teach." The commission to teach, or preach, proceeded evidently
from his universal dominion.
Q. Does not this view of the matter obviate the objection made to the doctrine of a
definite atonement, derived from the fact of the call being general?
A. Yes. Because the ambassadors are not authorized to declare, as the ground of Christ's
invitation to those addressed, to believe, that Christ died for them, but that he died for
sinners, and, as Lord of all, Christ, by them, commands all men, who hear the voice of
the gospel, to believe and repent.
Q. In how many ways can you prove the universality of Christ's mediatorial dominion?
A. Two. 1. From those passages which assert its universality in general terms. 2. From
those which describe the various departments or provinces of his dominion.
Q. Which are the passages of the first class?
A. They are, 1. Mat. xi. 27, "All things are delivered unto me of my Father." 2. Mat.
xxviii. 18, " All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." 3. Acts x. 30, "He is
Lord of all." 4. Eph. i. 22, "And hath put all things under his feet." 5. Col. ii. 10, "He is
the head of all principality and power." 6. 1 Cor. xv. 27, "He hath put all things under his
feet." 7. Heb. ii. 8, "Thou hast put all things in Subjection under his feet."
Q. Is it not Christ's essential dominion of which these passages treat?
A. No. It is his mediatorial dominion.
Q. How does this appear?
A. The terms "delivered," "given," "put," designate his mediatory office; because, as the
Son essentially considered, he cannot have authority conferred upon him, for as such he
is equal with the Father, and all power belongs to him originally and inherently ; but as
mediator, the Father's servant, he is properly the subject of a gift.
Q. How do these passages prove the universality of his Mediatorial dominion ?
A. 1. The word all occurring so frequently designates this universality. 2. There is but
one exception made-the Father, "who put all things under him," which confirms the
doctrine, as all beside the Father, (even the Spirit, who is called the Spirit of the Son), are
made subject to Christ for mediatorial purposes.
Q. Is not this subjection of the Spirit in the fullest sense voluntary ?
A. Yes. As that of the Son to the Father, it is altogether economical; a part of that
covenant arrangement from all everlasting between the Persons in the Godhead. He is
still the "free Spirit."
Q. O/how many provinces does Christ's mediatorial dominion consist ?
A. It consists of seven. 1. The inanimate creation. Ps. viii. 6, "Thou madest him to have
dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet." Mat. viii.
27, " But the men marvelled, saying, what manner of man is this, that even the winds and
sea obey him?" 2. The irrational tribes. Ps. viii. 7, "All sheep and oxen, yea, and the
beasts of the field." Heb. ii. 6-8. 3. All good angels. 1 Pet. /'/'/'. 22, "Who is gone into
heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels, and authorities, and powers being made
subject unto him" See also Is. vi. 1, 2 ; Heb. i. 4 ; Rev. v. 11, 12 ; Heb. i. 14. 4. The
wicked angels. Luke x. 17, 18, "And the seventy returned with joy, Saying, Lord, even
the devils are subject to us through thy name and he said unto them, I beheld Satan as
lightning fall from heaven." See Mat. viii. 28 ; Rev xii. 9, 10 ; Col. ii. 15. 5. All men. Jno.
xvii. 2, "Power over all flesh" (flesh, the human race at large). Ps. ii. 8, " Ask of me, and
I shall give thee the heathen (THE NATIONS) for thine inheritance, and the uttermost
parts of the earth for thy possession." See ver. 10, 12; xviii. 43. 6. All associations,
particularly civil and ecclesiastical. Ps. lxxii. 10, 11, "The kings of Tarshish and the isles
shall bring presents ; the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts ; yea, all kings shall
fall down before him, and all nations shall serve him." Dan. vii. 14, " And there was
given him dominion, glory, and a kingdom that all people, nations, and languages should
Serve him." Col. i. 18, "He is the head of the body, the church." 7. The kingdom of
providence. Rev. v. The sealed book of the divine purposes, respecting the church and the
world, is put into the hands of the Lamb, and he rules in their accomplishment.
Q. For what end is Christ invested with this universal dominion ?
A. That he should render the whole administration of providence subservient to the
erection, progress, and final perfection of his special kingdom, the church.
Q. What is the true nature of Christ's mediatorial kingdom ?
A. It is a spiritual kingdom.
Q. What is the proper definition of its spirituality ?
A. It is a kingdom not designed merely to promote man's corporeal and temporal
interests, but chiefly the best interests of his immortal nature ?
Q. In what respects is it spiritual?
A. It is spiritual, 1. In its origin. It is not from men by any mode by which men convey
authority-but his dominion originates solely from the spiritual grant of the Father from all
everlasting in the covenant of grace. 2. In its ends which are, in substance, To gather his
church-to protect it on earth-to sanctify the hearts and lives of her members, and to render
subservient all secular things (even civil rule), to the spiritual and eternal interests of
men. Eph. i. 22. And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all
things to the church. 3. In its administration. As to the ecclesiastical department. Its
officers are pastors and teachers, elders and deacons (spiritual officers to administer all
the temporalities of the church), persons endowed with ministerial authority, whose
weapons are not carnal but spiritual (instruction, advice, censure and remonstrance) -and
as it respects the civil department, those who bear rule according to his ordinance are the
ministers of God, and are just, ruling in the fear of the Lord-whilst the rule in both cases
is the same-The Law of the Lord.
Q. Is civil government a spiritual dominion ?
A. Civil government is not strictly spiritual as it is in a good measure occupied about
man's temporal interests, but as it is subjected to Christ, among the all things put under
his feet, it is designed to subserve, in his hands, the religious as well as temporal interests
of the human race.
Q. Is the mediatorial dominion of Christ in such a sense spiritual that it can have no sort
of connection with the world, or with things, that are secular?
A. By no means; because, 1. Even it portion of the most spiritual of its subjects,
regenerate men, for a time, have their residence on the earth, and tire occupied with
secular things ; and their bodies are earthly and nourished by carnal things. 2. Besides,
there are things specified in the grant of dominion, which are strictly and literally worldly
and secular, Ps. viii. 6-8. "Thou hast put all things under his feet: all sheep and oxen, yea,
and the beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever
passes through the paths of the sea."
Q. Is not his kingdom deprived of a portion of its spirituality, and Secularized by this
A. Not in the least. Because whatever is connected with Christ's kingdom, however
carnal in its nature, is, in his infinite wisdom, and by his almighty power, somehow or
other, rendered subservient to spiritual objects. Eph. i. 22. " And gave him to be head
over all things to the church."
Q. Does not Christ himself in John xviii. 36, ("My kingdom is not of this world,")
disclaim all connection between his kingdom and secular things?
A. By no means : Because, 1. His kingdom is in this world. Matt, xxviii. 18. "All power
on earth, is given unto me." His Church, his peculiarly spiritual kingdom, is in this world.
2. The world itself, is a part of his kingdom. Eph. i. 20, 21. " Hath set him at his own
right hand, far above every name that is named-in this world" 3. In its origin, (as stated
above,) it is not of this world. This Christ himself affirms, in the disputed text. "But now
is my kingdom, not from hence. " (Men do not confer authority upon him.) 4. It signifies
that Christ is not to reign upon earth, seated upon a visible throne as earthly kings,
defending his kingdom by armies- "else would my servants fight." 6. His laws are not of
this world. They are from heaven. "Its laws, its powers, are all divine." 6. It is not of this
world, as to its benign moral influence upon society. Worldly kingdoms debase and
enslave; this is designed to free, to elevate and sanctify the subject, and subordinates all
things, to the eternal happiness of men. John viii. 32. 30. "Ye shall know the truth and the
truth shall make you free. If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free
indeed". 2 Cor. iii. 17. "Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." 7. It is not of this
world, as it is designed to overthrow all the kingdoms of this world, and put them under
the dominion of his saints, that they may subserve the spiritual interests of men. -Dan. ii.
44. "And in the days of those (kingdoms) shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom
which shall never be destroyed; but it shall break in pieces and consume all these
kingdoms." vii. 27. " And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom,
under the whole heaven, shall be given 'to the people of the saints of the Most High' 8.
The doctrine of the absolute spirituality of Christ's kingdom, would deny Christians the
right of holding any worldly property-engaging in any secular enterprise-or entering into
any political connection whatever; because Christ says of them, using precisely the same
phraseology, "ye are not of this world!" now such an interpretation is manifestly
contradictory to scripture and common sense, in this case-it follows that it is equally so in
Q. Do not other religious denominations, besides the Reformed Presbyterian, recognize in
their systems the doctrine of Christ's Mediatorial dominion?
A. Yes. A few others hold it in theory-but their theoretic profession is neutralized by a
practical denial. -They do not make it a matter of testimony.
Christ's exclusive Headship over the Church.
Q. What is the radical idea of the term Church ?
A. It is derived from the Hebrew word "np' and the Greek word 'eKKXr|<Tia' the roots of
which signify to call ; and denotes any assembly convened by invitation or appointment
Q. How is it used in the scriptures ?
A. It is variously employed in the scriptures, and imports 1. The whole body of the elect,
Eph. v. 23, "Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it." 2. A small worshipping
society of private Christians; Col. iv. 15, "Salute Nymphas, and the church which is in
his house." 3. Regularly organized congregations; Rev. ii. 1, "Unto the angel of time
church of Ephesus write." 4. The whole visible catholic society, consisting of all who, in
every age, in every place make a public and credible profession of the true religion
together with their children ; Acts vii. 38, "This is he that was in the church in the
wilderness;" Acts ii. 47, "The Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved;"
Act viii. 3, "Saul made havoc of the church. "
Q. In what sense are the epithets visible and invisible applied to the church?
A. The catholic or universal church, which is invisible consists of the whole number of
the elect, that have been, are, or shall be, gathered into one under Christ the head thereof.
2. The visible church, which is also catholic ~ universal, under the gospel, (not confined
to one nation, as before, under the law,) consists of all those throughout the world, that
profess the true religion, together with their children. Eph. i. 22, 23 ; ch. v. 27 ; Acts ii.
38, 39, 41, 47; Matt. xix. 14.
Q. Are both of these views comprehended in the one church of which Christ is the Head,
and over which he exercises mediatorial rule ?
A. Yes ; but it is the visible organic church of which we now principally treat.
Q. What are the marks by which the visible church catholic, as an organic body, may be
A. They are not those to which the Roman apostasy pretends, "antiquity", "universality,"
" continued succession", "power of working miracles," and the like, because these are
not exclusive properties. 2. But the characteristics of the visible church catholic, are what
belong to it, and to it alone.
They are-soundness in doctrine-a lawful and regular ministry-and the due administration
of gospel ordinances. Acts ii. 43; xiv. 23; Mat. xxviii. 19, 20; Acts xx. 7 ; 1 Cor. xi. 2.
Q. Is the Lord Jesus Christ the exclusive Head of this visible catholic, ecclesiastical
A. Yes ; he alone is Head of his body the church, and governs her with an absolute
Q. In what is his title to exclusive dominion over the church founded?
A. His title is founded, 1 . In the appointment of the Father, Ps. ii. 6, "Yet have I set my
King upon my holy hill of Zion." 2. In the gift of the church to him, John xvii. 6, "I have
manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world ; thine they
were, and thou gavest them me:" 3. In his incorporating it by covenant. It is a covenant
society; not founded in the covenant of grace, merely, but Christ hath made with it an
express ecclesiastical covenant, as illustrated by the transaction with Abraham, Gen. xvii.
1-14, "1 will be a God unto thee, and unto thy seed after thee"-which evidently has a
respect to an ecclesiastical relation-hence Abraham is entitled the "Father of many
nations,"-Gentiles as well as Jews. 4. It is fuunded on the purchase of the church with his
own blood ; Acts xx. 1 8, "Feed the church of God which he bath purchased with his own
blood." 5. This right is founded in the circumstance that he is the maker and builder of
the church. Heb. iii. 3-6, "For this man was accounted worthy of more glory than Moses,
inasmuch as he who bath builded the house is worthy of more honour than the house-and
Moses, verily, was faithful in all his house as a servant-but Christ as a son over his own
house." Also, 1 Pet. ii. 4, 5; Eph. ii. 22.
Q. By what passages of Scripture can it be established that the Lord Jesus Christ is the
exclusive Head of the church ?
A. I. By Psa. ii. 6, "Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. ' 2. Ps. cxlix. 2,
"Let the children of Zion be joyful in their king." 3. Is. ix. 6, "unto us a child is born, unto
us a Son is given-and the government shall beupon his shoulders-and he shall sit upon the
throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it and to establish it" 4. Is. xxiv. 23,
"The Lord of hosts shall reign on Mount Zion." 5. Zech. ix. 9, "Rejoice, daughter of
Zion-behold thy King cometh unto thee." 6. Zech. vi. 13, "Even he shall build the temple
of the Lord ; and he shall bear the glory, said shall sit and rule upon his throne." 7. Luke
i. 33, "He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever." 8. Acts v. 31, "Him bath God
exalted a prince-to give repentance to Israel." 9. Rev. xv. 3, "Just and true are thy ways,
thou KING OF SAINTS." 10. Eph. iv. 18, "Who is the Head, even Christ" 11. Eph. v. 23,
24, "Christ is Head of the Church" -"The church is subject unto Christ" 12. Col. i. 18,
"And he is the head of the body, the church."
Q. Does not the Pope of Rome claim to be head of the visible church?
A. Yes; this is his blasphemous claim. 1 . In the Creed of Pope Pius the Fourth, he claims
to be "Successor of St. Peter, prince of the apostles, and vicar of Jesus Christ." 2. The
Council of Florence, A. D. 1438, decreed, '"That the human Pontiff is head of the whole
church, and to him, in St. Peter, was delegated, by our Lord Jesus Christ, full power to
feed, rule and govern the universal church: '
Q. Is there any foundation in Scripture for this supremacy of Peter and his alleged
A. Not the least; on the contrary, every aspiration after supremacy was decidedly rebuked
and forbidden by our Lord, and the strictest fraternal parity enforced. 1. Matt. xx. 25-27,
"And Jesus called them unto him and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles
exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them, but it
shall not be so among you; but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your
minister; and whosoever will be chief among you let him be your servant." 2. Mat. xxiii.
8, "But be not ye called Rabbi, for one is your master, even Christ; and all ye are
brethren. And call no man your father, (Pope) upon the earth; for one is your Father,
which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters; for one is your master, even Christ. But
ho that is greatest among you shall be your servant." 3. Mark ix. 3, "And he sat down and
called the twelve, and said unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last
Of all and Servant of all."
Q. Are there not numerous arguments confuting this blasphemous claim ?
A. Yes; many. 1. Paul rebuked Peter, and reckoned himself his equal. Gal. ii. 11, " But
when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he wag to bu
blamed." Also, verse 14. 2. If the dignity of the person left any authority with the city
where he resided, then Antioch had equal claims with Rome; and Jerusalem, where Christ
suffered, was to be preferred to all the world, for it was really the mother church. 3. Peter
had a limited province - the circumcision, as Paul the uncircumcision ; the latter being
of the greatest extent. And hence, Peter was not considered the universal pastor. 4. This
claim was denied by the primitive church writers. Cyprian and other bishops, wrote to the
bishop of Rome, as to their " fellow-bishop," "colleague," and "brother;" they were
opposed to appeals to Rome; and asserted that all bishops were equal in power, as the
apostles had been. 5. When the Emperor Mauritius gave the title, " Universal Bishop," to
the Patriarch of Constantinople, Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome, complained of the,
ambition of that title, which he calls "equal to the pride of Lucifer ! 6. It was not till the
year 606, that Boniface the Third received, from the brutal usurper Phocas, the title of
"Universal Bishop." 7. This power was not, for centuries after, acknowledged in
Germany, Scotland, England, &c, and even several sees, as Ravenna, Milan and
Aquileia, plead exemption from the papal authority. From all this it is manifest, that the
Pope's power is a usurpation ; and the Pope is the "Man of Sin,"-" the Antichrist,"-" the
son of perdition-who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is
worshipped ; so that he as God, sitteth in the temple of God, allowing himself that he is
God." 2 Thess. 11. 4.
Q. Do not civil rulers claim a supremacy over the church ?
A. Yes ; They have often usurped this prerogative of Jesus Christ, and exercised a
despotic authority over his church.
Q. Is there any foundation in the scriptures for this claim?
A. Not the least. The scriptures exhibit civil rule as having for its object things external,
relating immediately to the outer man, in subserviency to the religious interests of
society, and as having no power over things ecclesiastical.
Q. Do not the Scriptures substantially prohibit civil rulers from exercising ecclesiastical
A. They do. 2 Chron. xxvi. 10-20, "It appertaineth not to thee, Uzziah, to burn incense
unto the Lord, but to the priests, the sons of Aaron, who are consecrated to bunt incense ;
go out of the sanctuary." Yea, the Lord punished his presumption and "smote him with
leprosy, and they thrust him out of the temple. This instance clearly proves that civil
rulers have no ecclesiastical power. Their whole authority is civil, and all they do in
relation to the Church is in their capacity of civil rulers. They have no authority (as will
be seen in another section,) in or over the church.
Q. What are some of the claims of our Lord Jesus Christ in relation o the church, as its
exclusive and sovereign head?
A. He claims the exclusive right to appoint to the church, 1. Her doctrine; Gal 1:11, "But
I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man, for I
neither received it of men, neither was I taught it but by the revelation of Jesus Christ;"
also, verses 8, 9, and 2 John 10. 2. All her officers; Eph. iv. 2, "And he gave some
apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors, and some teachers
for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." Phil. i. 1, "To all the
saints that are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons." 3. All her institutions of
worship ; Matt. xv. 9, "But, in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the
commandments of men." 4. All her laws ; Is. xxxiii. 22, "The Lord is our lawgiver." Isa.
ii. 3, "And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of
the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob ; and he will teach us his ways, and we will
walk in his paths; for out of Zion Shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from
Q. What are the officers which Christ, as her head, has appointed in the Church ?
A. They are, 1. Extraordinary; Eph. iv. 11, "apostles," "prophets ," "evangelists." 2.
Ordinary; pastors and teachers, ruling elders and deacons. Eph. iv. 6, "Some pastors and
teachers." 1 Tim. v. 17, "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double
honour, especially they who labour in word and doctrine." 1 Tim. ii. 8, "Likewise, must
the deacons be grave."
Q. What are the respective functions of these officers ?
A. The functions of the pastors are, to instruct and rule the church; Matt, xxviii. 19, 20,
"Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations-teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I
have commanded you." Acts xx. 28, "Take heed, therefore, unto yourselves, and to all the
flock over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers-to feed the church of
God." Heb. xiii. 17, "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves; for
they watch for your souls, as they that must give an account." 2. The function of the
ruling elders, is simply to rule ; 1 Tim. v. 17, "Let the elders that rule well be counted
worthy of double honour." 3. The functions of the deacons are, to receive and disburse
the ecclesiastical funds, and exercise a care over all other temporalities of the church-
giving a special attention to the poor; Acts vi. 1-0, "And in those days," &c.
Q. Are the ministers of the church clothed with a despotic and discretional Power?
A. No; their power is simply stewardly and ministerial.
Q. Is it not rebellion against Christ as the Head of his church, to reject any one of the
officers of his appointment, or to deny any officer the exercise of any one of the functions
of his office ?
A. Undoubtedly ; because Christ is jealous of his own authority in Zion, and will not give
"His glory to another."
Q. Where do you find the divine warrant for the office of Deacon in the New Testament
A. In the following Scriptures : 1. Acts vi. Where we are informed of the origin and the
design of the office. 2. 1 Tim 3: 8-12. Where the inspired apostle describes their
necessary qualifications - Likewise must the deacons be grave," &:c. 3. Phil. i. 1. Where
the apostle exhibits their existence in the church equally with the bishops-(" with the
bishops and deacons.")
Q. What are the duties of this office ?
A. To take charge of and disburse the temporalities of the church giving special attention
to the poor.
Q. Where do you find the evidence in scripture that all the temporalities of the church are
entrusted to the deacons ?
A. In Acts vi.
Q. How does this passage prove that the temporalities of the church are confided to the
A. 1. The church had one common fund at that time, Acts ii. 44 ; iv. 34, 35. 2. This Was
laid at the apostles' feet, Acts iv. 34-37. 3. This business was more than the apostles
could manage consistently with their higher employments, Acts vi. 2. 4. The seven were
set over the same business, Acts vi. 3, 4.
Q. Did the apostles except any part of this common fund ?
A. No. It was ALL delivered over to the deacons.
Q. Did this officer exist universally in the church in apostolic times?
Q. What evidence have you from history ?
A. Mosheim says, "That all the other Christian Churches followed the example of that of
Jerusalem in whatever related to the choice and office of deacon."
Q. Does any other historian confirm this?
A. Yes. Several ; Brown of Haddington, Dr. Miller of Princeton, and others.
Q. What is the testimony of Brown ?
A. He states in substance-That deacons were universal in the apostolic church.
Q. What say's Dr. Miller ?
A. Dr. Miller states,-"For the first two hundred years every flock of professing Christians
had its pastor or bishop, "with its bench of elders, and its body of deacons. "-Tract on
Q. What says Buck, in his Theological dictionary, on the existence and duties of this
office in the primitive church ?
A. Buck says, "The office of deacon originally was to serve tables-the Lord's table, the
minister's, and the poor's table. They took care of the secular affairs of the church,
received and disbursed moneys-kept the church's accounts-and provided every thing
necessary for its temporal good.
Q. Did the Reformation Church of Scotland recognise this office as it existed in the
primitive church, in the fill extent of its duties as illustrated above?
A. Yes. In her Second Book of Discipline she says: "The office and power of the deacon
is to receive and distribute THE WHOLE OF THE ECCLESIASTICAL GOODS unto
them to whom they are appointed, that the patrimony of the kirk and poor be not
converted unto private men's use, nor wrongfully distributed."
Q. Is there any evidence that this Second Book of Discipline was "binding law in said
Church alter the adoption of the Westminster Standards?"
A. Yes ; abundant. As a specimen, take the act, of the year 1649, abolishing patronage; in
which patronage is said to be "contrary to the Second Book of Discipline," in which,
upon sound and good ground, it is reckoned among abuses that are desired to be
reformed. The Form of church government was adopted Feb. 10, 1645-four years before
the passage of the act which quotes it as authority. Cruikshank, vol 1, p. 78.
Q. Does the Reformed Presbyterian Church in the United States recognise the office in
like manner ?
A. Yes. She declares that the " deacon's power is about the temporalities of the church."
Q. Do our brethren in Scotland thus recognise the office?
A. Yes. In their Testimony they say: "Deacons are ordained upon the choice of the
congregation, and are associated with the teaching and ruling elders, in distributing to the
necessities of the poor, and managing other temporalities, of the church."
Q. Is this office perpetual in the church ?
A. Yes: 1 Tim. iii. 8, 12, and Phil. i. 1. Its perpetuity is the same with that or the bishop or
Q. What say the Standards of the Reformed Presbyterian Church respecting the
perpetuity of this office ?
A. The Westminster Form of Church Government says of the "deacon" "whose office is
Q. Has Christ instituted in his church, ordinances of divine worship and Christian
A. Yes; Christ has sanctioned' either by express institution, or by his administrative
example, 1. Public prayer. 2. praise. 3. Reading of the scriptures. 4. preaching the word;
Baptism and the Lord's Supper. In the presence of his disciples he lifted his eyes to
heaven, in solemn supplication to the Father. He sung with them a hymn before going out
to the Mount of Olives. When he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, he "stood
up for to read." "Go ye into all nations and preach the gospel to every creature," was
among his last directions to the apostles and their successors. He commanded them also
to " Baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." In
reference to the ordinance of the supper, he said, " Do this in remembrance of me." And,
as for that portion of time which is consecrated to the peculiar observance of all these'
institutions, it is written, "The Son of man is the Lord of the Sabbath." There is not an
institution of divine worship by Which the devotional feelings of the church are
expressed, or the edification of the body promoted, which bears not the stamp of the
Saviour's authority; find in observing them all, the true saint has the satisfaction to know,
that he is " serving the Lord Christ".
Q. Is it not daring presumption and an act of rebellion, to worship by any observance of
our own invention ?
A. Yes ; for Christ, 1 . Rebukes it. "In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the
commandments of men." 2. He gives us two alarming examples of his jealousy in this
respect. -The cases of Nadab and Abihu, who, for offering "strange fire," were consumed
by "a vehement flame," from the presence of the Lord-and the worshippers of the golden
calf who were miserably slain.
Q. Does not the efficacy of ordinances depend upon the dominion of Christ in his church?
A. Yes; Christ, upon his ascension to the right hand of the throne of God, " received gifts
for men, even for the rebellious-that the Lord might dwell among them" among which
gifts are the Holy Spirit, whom he sends forth as the Spirit of truth, to lead men into the
knowledge of the truth ; and it is by the word of Christ rendered "quick and powerful," by
the energy of the Spirit that men are convinced of sin, enlightened in the knowledge of
Christ, and their wills renewed-and are thus enabled to embrace the Saviour, as he is
offered in the gospel.
Q. Has Christ instituted a form of government in his church?
A. Yes; he has not left his church in a state of anarchy or confusion or to be modelled
according to the fancies of men, as may best serve their political views and designs.
Every piece of the Old Testament tabernacle was to be placed according to the pattern
shown in the holy mount; much more the New Testament church, which is called " the
true tabernacle of David." Compare Acts xv. 16, with Amos ix. 11.
Q. What texts demonstrate an established government in the New Testament church ?
A. Many; its examples, 1 Thess. v. 12, "We beseech you, brethren, to know them which
labour among and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you." ITim. v. 17, Let the
elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour." And, Hebrews xiii. 17, "Obey
them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves."
Q. flow many forms are there of church government, for which their advocates claim a
A. Four: the papal, or spiritual monarchy ; the episcopal, or spiritual prelacy;
independency, or spiritual democracy; and presbyterianism, or spiritual republicanism.
Q. What is the distinctive characteristic of each ?
A. The first maintains the necessity of one supreme, universal, infallible head of the
whole Christian body, and throughout the world, who is the authorized vicar of Christ.
The second contends for all order of clerical prelates, above the rank of ordinary
ministers of the gospel, who are alone, in their view, empowered to ordain, and without
whose presiding agency there call be no regular church. The third holds that all
ecclesiastical power resides in the mass of the church members and that all acts of
ecclesiastical authority are to he performed immediately by them. The fourth maintains
that Christ has made all ministers who are authorized to dispense the word and
sacraments, equal in official rank and power; that in every church the immediate exercise
of ecclesiastical power is deposited, not with the whole mass of the people, but with a
body of their representatives styled elders; and that the whole visible church catholic, as
far as their denomination is concerned, is not only one in name, but so united by a series
of assemblies of these representatives, acting in the name and by the authority of the
whole, as to bind the whole body together as one church, walking by the same principles
of faith and order, and voluntarily, yet authoritatively, governed by the same system of
rules and regulations.
Q. What is the first proof of the absolute parity of the ministers of the word ?
A. Mark x. 42-44, " But Jesus called them to him, and said to them, Ye know that they
which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles, exercise lordship over them, and their great
ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you; but whosoever shall
be great among you, shall be your minister, and whosoever will be the chiefest shall be
the servant of all. " (See also Mat. xx. 25, 27 ; xxiii. 8-12 ; Luke xxii. 25, 20.)
Q. What is the second argument?
A. 1 Pet. v. 3, "Neither as being lords over God's heritage (literally clergy,) but being
ensamples to the flock."
Q. What is the third proof?
A. The highest ordinary officers mentioned in 1 Cor. xii. 28, and Eph. iv. 11, are "pastors
and teachers," as given and set by Christ in the church, for the work of the ministry. "
Q. What is the fourth proof ?
1 1 . Presbyter and bishop are convertible terms ; that is, they apply to the same individual,
exercising one and the same office. Presbyter or elder is expressive of the authority, and
episkopos, or bishop, of the duty of the pastor. Acts xx. 17-28, " From Miletus he sent to
Ephesus, and called the elders (presbyters-Greek,) of the church, And charged them,
saying, "Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock over the which the Holy Ghost
hath made you overseers," (or "bishops") Also, 1 Pet. v. 2, "The elders which are among
you I exhort, which am also an elder, feed the church of God which is among you, taking
the oversight thereof,"-episkopountes-episcopising, or watching, or performing the duty
of a bishop. In both these passages, elder is the official title, and bishop the term ex-
pressive of the duties of the elder.
Q. What is the fifth argument?
A. The officers of the church are ordained by a plurality of elders, in which act they all
stand on an equal platform. Acts xiv. 23, " And when they had ordained them elders in
every church." 1 Tim. iv. 14, " Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee
by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. " Paul and Barnabas acted
as presbyters in ordination, and as members of a presbytery, and Timothy was ordained
by the same-a plurality of elders acting in these solemn transactions as equals, and not by
a lord over God's clergy.
Q. What is the sixth argument?
A. The apostles, in ordaining elders, acted simply as presbyters. Timothy was ordained
by a presbytery, of which presbytery Paul was a member, 2 Tim. i. 6.
Q. What is the seventh proof?
A. All the elders have equal authority as rulers. 1 Tim. v. 17, " Let the elders that rule
well be counted worthy of double honour." According to this, all elders have equal
authority as rulers-the only distinction which can justly obtain among them, is not in the
sense of rule, as superior or inferior- of greater diligence and fidelity in the performance
of presbyterial duty.
Q. What proof is there of the existence of a class of officers, designated by the title,
Ruling Elders, distinct from the pastor or teaching elder?
A. There is abundant proof; First, The New Testament church was modelled after the
pattern, substantially of the Jewish synagogue. The order of the synagogue was
substantially as follows. There was a preacher or angel of each synagogue ; this angel
was not the bishop of a diocess or province, but of a particular congregation, assembled
in one synagogue or place of worship; there was associated with him a number of rulers
entitled, Luke xiii. 14, the rulers of the synagogue; and a third class-collectors and
distributors of the funds.
Q. Did our Saviour sanction this order in his ministrations on earth?
Q. Did the apostles And evangelists preach in the Jewish synagogues, and organise
congregations upon this simple and efficient model?
A. Yes. Acts xiv. 23, "And when they had ordained them elders in every church," or
congregation. As there was it plurality of elders ordained in each congregation, it is just
inference that, associated with the angel' bishop, or pastor of the New Testament
congregation, after the model of the synagogue, is a bench of elders, whose function it is
to conduct its government. Second, 1 Tim. v. 17, " Let the elders that rule well be
counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine"
Evidently, " Elders that rule well," are justly denominated "ruling elders".
Q. Is there a manifest distinction among these elders ?
A. Yes; There are some whose sole business it is to rule; another class who, besides
ruling, "labour in word and doctrine." Because, if this distinction be not observed, the
passage would run-substituting equivalent expressions, thus strange
ly :"Let the elders that do their duty well be counted worthy of double honour, especially
the elders that do their duty!" This passage, therefore, requires distinction into ruling
elders and teaching elders; that is, a class who rule only-another class which, besides
ruling, teach, in which only they have a pre-eminence.
Q. Are not those who labour in word and doctrine contrasted with those who only rule ?
d. This is the Come of the word [laXiaTa. It is used in several passages evidently with
this view. Gal. ii. 10, "Let us do good unto all men, especially (malista) unto them who
are of the household of faith". 1 Tim. iv. 10, "Who is the Saviour of all men, especially
(malista) of those who believe. "All elders that rule well are worthy of regard - but there
is a reason why Some elders should be regarded which does not belong to all; their duty,
besides ruling, labouring in the word and doctrine; therefore the they are to be par-
ticularly honoured for this peculiarity, by which they are distinguished from the others
who rule only. It would indeed be strange if it was the duty of each and all elders, besides
ruling, to labour in word "and doctrine, that Paul should account men worthy of double
honour who neglected the chief part of their duty! For the text plainly shows that some
rule well, but do not labour in word and doctrine ; others, in addition to ruling well, are
commended for labouring in the word and doctrine. It is evident, therefore , that there are
two distinct classes of elders properly designated by the appellations of RULING
ELDERS AND TEACHING ELDERS. The former rule only. The latter, besides ruling,
teach the words of eternal life.
Q. What other proof have you for the office of Ruling Elder.
A. Rom. xii. 7, 8, "Let us wait on our ministering-he that teacheth, on teaching-he that
ruleth, let him do it with diligence." Paul compares the church, in this chapter, to the
human body-and as in that body all the members have not the same office, so all the
members of the church have not the same office. There are gifts differing according to the
grace given to each. In the passage quoted, evidently the ruler is distinguished from the
teacher-ruling from teaching. The elders that rule are distinct from those who have,
besides, the office in the body of teaching, and have grace distinguishing them for this
Q. What further proof?
11. 1 Cor. xii. 28, "Teachers-governments." In addition to the standing ministry in the
church, whose chief office is to teach, there is a class of officers endowed with authority
to govern (as the word means) as assistants to the teachers in the government of the
Q. What additional proof?
A. James v. 14, "Is any man sick among you let him call for the elders of the church," or
congregation. These elders are evidently over the same congregation. If they are remote
from each other, the afflicted individual could not have access to them in his exigency ;
and taken in connexion "with Acts xiv. 23, -the ordination of a plurality of elders in each
congregation-it is evidence in favour of the distinct order of officers entitled RULING
Q. Is there a series of judicatories, rising one above another, by which the church is
bound together as one homogeneous community ?
A. Yes; First, the congregational session. Second, Presbytery. Third, The synod, general
Q. What proof in scripture is there for the congregational presbytery or session?
A. There is sufficient proof. First, The New Testament churches, or congregations, were
modelled after the Jewish, synagogue, which was governed by an estate of elders. Acts
xviii. 8-17 ; Mark iv. 35, 30, 38. Second, Christ refers with approbation to the order of
government among the Jews, (which we will show again,) Matt, xviii. 15-21: "Tell it to
the church." Now the Jews had a lesser court of sanhedrin, called "The assembly of
three," in every place of the number of one hundred and twenty inhabitants. There must
be something similar in the New Testament church. The congregational court to which
we tell the offences of the offending brother. Third, Heb. xiii. 17, " Obey them that have
the rule over you, and submit yourselves," relates first in order to the congregational
rulers, as is plain from the reason assigned for submission, for they "watch for your
souls." The immediate rulers who had to care of the particular flock; confirmed by ver. 7.
Fourth, 1 Thess. v. 12, "Know them which labour among you, and are over you in the
Lord, and admonish you. " A plain proof of a number of congregational rulers who
immediately governed the people, clothed with the power of authoritative admonition,
and to whom they were to be in meek subjection.
Q. How can you prove the divine right of presbytery?
A. The arguments are numerous. We select one—the church of Antioch. First , there were
several single congregations in this one church. 1. The multitude of believers: -Acts xi.
21, "A great number believed." By the preaching of Barnabas " Much people were added
to the Lord ;" (verse 24.) Barnabas and Saul, for a year together, ought much people, and
disciples there so mightily multiplied, that there they were first designated "Christians;"
verses 25, 26. 2. From the multitude of preachers at Antioch : Acts xi. 20, "Divers
preached" there-three or four at least. There Barnabas was sent,' verses 22-24. he went
for Saul to help him, so great was the harvest; verses 25, 26. There came a number from
Jerusalem; verses 27, 28. .five more are to be added, who are named Acts xiii. l-:3. "
"Yea, Paul and Barnabas continued in Antioch teaching and preaching the word of the
Lord, with many others also ; " xv. .35. Now sum up all. What a multitude of believers,
and what a college of preachers, were here at Antioch ! How is it possible that all these
preachers should be occupied in one congregation (and they were not idlers,) dispensing
the ordinances of Christ to them only? Or how could so many members meet in one
single congregation at once, ordinarily, to partake of all ordinances. Now these numerous
believers and preachers are called, Acts xiii. 1 " The church, that was at Antioch; "
evidently in regard of one joint administration of church government among them, by one
Q. What other proof ?
A. In Antioch we have clearly two examples of presbyterial meetings. 1. Acts xiii. 1-9,
"Now there was in the church in Antioch church that was at Antioch, certain prophets,
(who prophesied by preaching or expounding the word,) and teachers; as Barnabas, and
Simeon, that was called Niger, and Lucius, of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been
brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted,
the Holy Ghost said, "Separate me Barnabas and Saul, for the work whereunto I have
called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they
sent them away." This was evidently a presbyterial act. Paul and Barnabas were
separated to missionary labour, by "the laying on of the hands of the presbytery," with all
due formality. 2. Acts xv. "And certain men which came down from Judea, taught the
brethren and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be
saved. When, therefore, Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with
them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain others of them, should go up
to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. " Can anything be plainer
than that, the question of circumcision was brought before the assembly of the elders of
Antioch, and reasoned at length, but they came to no decision upon the merits- of the
question, but, as it concerned the whole church, wisely " determined" to refer it to the
highest ecclesiastical tribunal for its decision-to which synodal assembly they appointed
their delegates? They decided, decreed or ordained, as the Greek for "determined"
means-to send Paul, &c. Jerusalem, Corinth, Ephesus, &c, offer equally forcible and
conclusive arguments to the same point.
Q. Is there any proof for the divine right of synodal assemblies ?
A. Yes; The proof is conclusive. First, The unity of the church is a valid argument. The
fourth chapter of Ephesians discusses this unity, and any one who will candidly
examine it, will be convinced that the ministry is given for the purpose of governing it as
a unity, until the end of time. There is but " one Lord, one faith, one baptism ;" and there
is but "one body." To this one body the pastors and teacher -as the ordinary ministry-are
given-given, moreover, to preserve this unity, " till we all come in the unity of faith unto
the perfect man." Being with this view given to the church, how can they preserve this
unity, but by assembling in a judicatory, where they can act for the whole-take the
oversight; feed, govern, and direct the whole church of God ? A synod is, therefore,
demanded by the unity of the church : and this unity is preserved where Christ is really
recognised as the Head, and his laws are honestly administered by a synodical assembly.
If synods have failed to preserve this unity, it will be found that they have deliberated
upon the principles of a carnal expediency, and were not governed by the word and truth
Q. What is the second proof for synodal assemblies?
A. Christ refers with approbation to the forms of procedure in the Jewish courts, in which
the synagogues were subordinate to the Sanhedrin. There were three judicial assemblies
among the Jews. The first consisted of one hundred and twenty; the second of twenty-
three, and the third of three judges. The former was called the great sanhedrin ; the
second the sanhedrin of twenty-three, and the latter the assembly of three. The great
sanhedrin sat in Jerusalem; the lesser in every place containing more than one hundred
and twenty inhabitants, and the assembly of three, in every place of the number of one
hundred and twenty inhabitants. This is the system of which our Redeemer approved as
we have his judgement, in the eighteenth of Matthew; and he intimates very clearly from
the 18 to the 20th verse, that the great sanhedrin embodied in these judicial tribunals
would be extended throughout the New Testament .dispensation. This system WAS
rigidly observed until after the destruction of the second temple. The assembly of three,
and the sanhedrin of twenty three, were subordinate to the great sanhedrin, which had
both appellate and original jurisdiction. From the recommendation of our Saviour, we
may safely conclude, that a supreme assembly after the example of the great sanhedrin,
will meet his approbation. He commends the court of two or three. " For where two or
three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." And when he
says, "Tell it unto the church," he shows explicitly his approbation of the judicial system
by which the body of his people, under the former dispensation, were governed ; for he
gave the law which is recorded in Deut. xvii. 8-12, and which seems to lay down the
principle of appeal according to this simple and essentially righteous judicial system.
Q. What is the third proof?
A. At Jerusalem a synod composed of the rulers of the several churches met, debuted, and
determined a point of controversy in the church. We have a record of the fact - and the
transactions of this synodal assembly in the fifteenth of Acts. We have here, 1. An
authoritative decree; 2. Enacted by a representative body ; 3. Exercising ecclesiastical
jurisdiction over churches and presbyteries.
Q. What is the proof of the first position ?
A As to the first Acts xvi. 4, is conclusive. "As they went, through the cities they
delivered them the decrees for to keep which were ordained by the apostles and elders
which were at Jerusalem." Ta 8oy|iaTa tq KeKpi|ieva. Dogma does not mean advice,
but a decree that must be obeyed. The decrees of the Roman emperor are designated by
the same word ; Luke ii. 1; Acts xvii. 1, "There went out a decree (8oy|ia) from Caesar
Augustus." "These all do contrary to the decrees (8oy|iaTcov) of Caesar." The decrees of
the Caesars were not simple advice-but, authoritative, and to be obeyed at the peril of the
subject: so the acts of this synod were authoritative decrees-binding the conscience of the
members of the church.
Q. What is the proof of the second position ?
A. As to the second, the synod was a representative body. The apostles were not alone in
this grand assembly-nor did they as members act in their apostolic character-but as elders
(1 Pet. V. 1,) in their presbyterial capacity ; verse 6 "The apostles and elders came
together for to consider this matter." The whole church; verse 22, The brethren verse 23.
Those who are styled the whole church in the 22d, are called " the brethren," in the 23
verse. The latter signifies, as a technical term, men, of equal rank to others specified,
(Acts xxii. 5, and xv. 40, xx. 32 ) The equals of the elders of Jerusalem at Damascus. The
elders of Ephesus, officially -and the members of the synod-equals in authority-
delegates from the churches that were not of Judea. The "whole church" is the church
representative. The private members of the church at Jerusalem could not be styled the
whole church-and upon the principles of independency, could not bind by their acts the
church in Corinth etc.; And upon the principles of Presbyterianism the members of the
church in one city could not bind by their acts the members of another city. The whole
church universal was not present in Jerusalem in its collective members. It was the
church representative in her delegates-the brethren front the distant cities and provinces
of the church. Antioch sends, as we have seen, her delegates-and other presbyteries are
there in the person of their delegates-so that the decree is the act the of the o\x\ rr\
eKK\er|OTa - the whole church representatively.
Q. How do you prove the third position ?
A. As to the third, these decrees were sent down to the whole church, to be kept-as
decisions binding the conscience of all its members, officially or personally considered.
Acts xvi. 4, "They went through all the cities and delivered them the decrees for to keep. "
The decrees respected, and bound all the churches. Paul was now in Derbe or Lystra, in
Lycaonia, having passed through Syria and Cilicia, and from Lycaonia he travelled
through Phrygia and Galatia into Macedonia. Through whatever cities he passed where
there was a church, he delivered them the decrees of the synod of Jerusalem. " to keep."
The word (pvXaaao, rendered "to keep," signifies not only to keep in safety -with care as
a deposit, but to observe, so as not to violate, as a command; Matt. xix. 20; Mark x. 20,
"All these things have I kept, (the same Greek word) from my youth up." These decrees
of the synod were to be observed as the commandments of Christ. Second, We have seen
the question was referred from the presbytery of Antioch, which, as will be seen,
acquiesced in the decision of the synod. Third, All the churches submitted to the decree ;
Acts xv. 30, 31, "So when they (commissioners of synod) were dismissed, they came to
Antioch, and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle,
which, when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation." And in the 46th verse,
Paul and Silas are said to have "gone through Syria and Cilicia confirming the churches"
How confirming them but by giving them the decree; of the synod deciding the question
by which they had been unsettled in their judgements? This is clearly made out by the 4th
and 5 verses of the sixteenth chapter: "And so as they went through the cities they
delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders
which were at Jerusalem -and so were the churches established in the faith, and increased
in number daily." The whole church submitted cheerfully to the decision of the supreme
judicatory: even the gainsayers seem to have been silenced by the authoritative decision
of so august a body, acting in the name of the church's exalted Head; and peace,
establishment, and prosperity, were the happy results of this judicial decision, and the
submission of the church to those who' had the rule over them in the Lord, whose
"authority was for edification and not for destruction."
Q. What principle is the basis of the Presbyterian system
of church government?
A. The principle of representation-and from the church the nations have derived the
elements of republican institutions wherever they exist.
Q. Will not this principle bind the church in the millennium-and oven the nations
respectively-throughout the earth-in one homogeneous community?
A. The principle will admit of any degree of extension. An assembly may be constituted
to embrace the globe; and a just interpretation of the scripture seems to justify this
opinion. Jer. iii. 17, At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all
the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord to Jerusalem; neither shall
they walk any more after the imagination of their own heart."
Q. Has Christ as the Head of his church authorized the exercise of discipline upon the
household of faith?
A. Yes. The Lord Jesus Christ bath instituted DISCIPLINE in order to remove scandals,
and prevent their 'unhappy effects, and no church can, without the faithful and spiritual
application of it, hope for his countenance and blessing. First, Mat. xviii. 17, "If he shall
neglect to hear them, tell it to the church ; but if he neglect to hear the church, let him he
unto thee as a heathen man and a publican." Second, "Them that sin rebuke before all,
that others also may fear." Third, "A man that is a heretic, after the first and second
admonition reject." Fourth, Christ reproves the churches of Pergamos and Thyatira for
laxity in discipline; Rev. ii. 14, 20, "But I have a few things against thee because thou
hast there them that, hold the doctrine of Balaam." "Nevertheless I have a few things
against thee, because thou sufferest that woman, Jezebel, to teach and seduce my ser-
vants," &tc. Fifth, he commends the church of Ephesus for fidelity in this respect; "This
thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate."
Q. What Are some of the characteristics of the discipline which Christ authorizes as the
Head of the church ?
A. First, It should be faithful-the guilty should not escape. 1 Cor. v. 5, "In the name of our
Lord Jesus Christ, when they are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our
Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such a one unto Satan, for the destruction of the flesh, that
the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." Second, It should he administered
in all orderly manner ; 1 Cor. xiv. 40, "Let all things be done decently and in order."
Third, In all meekness; Gal. vi. 1, "Restore such a one in the spirit of meekness"
Fourth, in a solemn manner; 1 Pet. iv. 11, "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles
of God." Fifth, It should be exercised impartially; 1 Tim. V. 21, "Doing nothing by
Q. What are the offences which should subject the members of the church to discipline?
A. They are, First, Errors in doctrine; Rom: xvi. "Mark them which cause divisions and
offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them." Second,
Immorality in practice; 2 Chron. xxiii. 19, "He set the porters at the gates of the house of
the Lord, that none which was unclean in any thing should enter in." Eph, v. 11, "Have
no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." (See also
Rev. ii. 20.) Third, Despising the authority, order, or ordinances of the church ; 1 Cor.
xi. 2, "Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things and keep the
ordinances as I delivered them to you." 2 Th. iii. 6, "Now we command you, brethren, in
the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye Withdraw yourselves from every brother that
walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which ye received of us." Fourth,
Neglecting the public, domestic, or secret duties of religion; Heb. x. 25, " Not forsaking
the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is." Jer. x. 25, "Pour out thy
fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy
name " Matt. vi. "But thou when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast
shut thy door, pray to they Father which is in secret."
Q. What are the censures of the church?
A. They are for edification and not destruction, And are, First, Rebuke ; Tit 1:3, "Rebuke
them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith" Second, suspension from the privileges
of the church; 2 Thess. iii. 14, 16, "If any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that
man, And have no company with him, that he may be ashamed; yet count him not as an
enemy, but Admonish him as a brother." Third, Excommunication or excision from the
church; 1 Cor. v. 13, " Put away from among yourselves that wicked person." Gal. v. 12,
"I would they were even cut off which trouble you."
Q. What advantage may be derived from the impartial and prudent exercise of church
A. The impartial and prudent exercise of church discipline is useful for vindicating the
honour of Jesus Christ, maintaining the dignity of his ordinances, preserving the
purity of the church, averting the judgments of God, And for the benefit of the offender
himself, that by the administration of this ordinance of Christ, through grace, he may be
humbled and recovered ; 2 Cor. x. 8, "Our Authority which the Lord hath given us for
edification, and not for your destruction."
Q. Would not the full recognition of the Headship of Christ over his church, and humble
and implicit obedience to his authority in all things, greatly promote the unity, peace,
establishment, and prosperity of the church?
A. Yes; Divisions, contentions, and schisms, usually arise in the church from a
forgetfulness or rejection of the mediatorial authority of our Lord Jesus Christ in his
Church. Men, even ministers of religion, are apt to act upon the principle "Our tongues
are our own, who is Lord over us?" In contrast with such-" Blessed are the meek, for they
shall inherit the earth." " Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of
Q. Do not all Presbyterian denominations, at least, recognise the doctrine of Christ's
exclusive Headship over the church?
A. Yes ; In theory-but many reject it practically, as they introduce inventions of their own
into the worship of God-or adulterate republican presbyterianism by admitting into their
administration many of the elements of democratic independency. The Reformed
Presbyterians, more rigidly than all others, maintain Christ's exclusive Headship over the
church, tolerating no invasion of his prerogatives in this respect by rulers on the one
hand, or by the people on the other.
On the Supreme and Ultimate Authority of the Word of GOD in the
Q. Are the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament the only rule of faith and manners?
A. Yes; Is. viii. 20. "To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this
word, it is because there is no light in them."
Q. Are the Scriptures of the Old Testament equally with those of the New-a rule of faith
Q. What is the first proof?
A. Christ exhorted the Jews to search the Old Testament Scriptures, declaring that they
testified of him. John v. 39. "Search the Scriptures -they are they which testify of me."
Q. What is the second?
A. Christ commends the Old Testament, and exhorts his disciples to attend reverently to
Moses and the prophets. Luke xvi. 29. "They have Moses and the prophets, let them
hear them." Also, ver. 31.
Q. What is the third proof ?
A. The Apostle Peter directs the attention of Christians to them as a rule, to he observed
attentively until the day star of glory shall arise. 2 Pet. i. 19. "We have also a more sure
word of prophecy; whereunto we do well to take heed, as unto it light that shineth in a
dark place, until the day dawn and the day star arise in your hearts"
Q. What is the fourth Proof?
A. The New Testament Church is erected upon the foundation of the apostles and
Prophets. The doctrines taught by the apostles and prophets. Eph. ii. 20. "And are built
upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief
Q. What is the fifth proof?
A. What was recorded in the Old Testament was so recorded for the edification and
comfort of the church in all subsequent ages. Rom 15 " For whatsoever things were
written aforetime were written for our learning (instruction), that we, through patience
and comfort of the Scriptures, might have hope.
Q. What is the sixth proof?
A. The Old Testament writings were the means of enlightening Timothy in the way of
salvation ; and still contain the instructions requisite to furnish the man of God for "every
good work." 2 Tim. iii. 15, 16. "From a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures which
are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All
Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof; for
correction, for instruction in righteousness-that the man of God may be perfect,
thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
Q. What is the seventh proof ?
A. The doctrines of the Old are substantially the same with those of the New Testament.
Rom. xvi. 25, 20. "Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel,
and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which was
kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the Scriptures of the
prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all
nations for the obedience of faith." See also Rom. i. 2, 3. Acts xxvi. 22, 23. The law is the
same. Mat. xxii. 37-40.
Q. What is the eighth proof ?
A. Without the Old Testament we could not fully understand the New: nor demonstrate
that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Messiah. Luke xxiv. 27, 44. "And beginning at
Moses and the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things
concerning, himself. And he said unto them, These are the words which I spoke unto you
while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law
of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms concerning me." Also Acts x. 43; xvii.
11 ; xxvi. 22. Rom. iii. 21.
Q. Are the Scriptures to such an extent the rule of faith, that there is nothing left to the
wisdom and discretion of the rulers and teachers of the church ?
A. In matters essential to salvation, and what relates to the institutes of worship,
government, and order, the Scriptures are an absolute rule; but in carrying out the
principles and putting into operation the ordinances of religion, there are some things left
to the wisdom and prudence of the officers of the church-but here there is no latitude
allowed beyond what is the evident meaning and design of the Scriptures themselves in
these matters. I Cor. xiv. 40. "Let all things be done decently and in order."
Q. Is everything pertaining to faith and manners revealed in the Scriptures directly and
distinctly in so many words? or are many things to be learned from them inferentially or
by legitimate consequence ?
A. The Scriptures are a full and complete revelation, and great principles are directly and
plainly taught; yet many things of importance both of faith and manners are learned by
legitimate consequence, from other truths distinctly revealed, and from approved
scriptural examples, and such truths are equally a part of the Word of God with those
principles, which are taught by explicit revelation.
Q. Can you give an example of the inferential mode of reasoning, or by implication, from
A. Yes. The highest example-that of Christ himself; who proved the doctrine of the
resurrection of the dead by a legitimate consequence, from a fact revealed in the Old
Testament Scriptures. Matt. xxii. 31, 32. "But as touching the resurrection of the dead,
have you not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of
Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God the dead, but
of the living."
Q. Are not the Scriptures a complete and adequate rule of faith and manners ? or is there
a deficiency to be supplied from a treasury of unwritten traditions, intrusted to the alleged
successors of the apostles ?
A. The Scriptures are a complete and adequate rule of faith and manners, and the alleged
deposition of traditions is an invention of "The man of Sin," in support of his "lying
wonders," and "doctrines of devils."
Q. How is this manifest?
11. It is manifest, 1. In the fact that the Scriptures are profitable for all theoretic and
practical purposes, both in teaching matters of faith and moulding the manners. 2 Tim. iii.
Q. Where is found the second evidence ?
A. In the fact that God has expressly forbidden any addition to, or diminution of his
revealed will. Deut. iv. 2. "Ye shall not add to the word which I command you, neither
Shall ye diminish aught from it." Gal. i. 8. "But though we, or an angel from Heaven,
preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be
accursed." Rev. xxii, 18. "I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy
of this book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues
that are written in this book."
Q. What is the third proof?
A. In that the Word of God is perfect, containing all that is requisite for the conversion of
the souls of men. Ps, xix. 7, 8. "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul ; the
testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the commandment of the Lord is
pure, enlightening the eyes."
Q. What is the fourth evidence ?
A. In that they were given that men by them might be put in possession of eternal life,
hence they can be deficient in nothing essential to this end. John xx. 3 1 . "But these are
written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing
ye might have life through his name." Also, I John v. 13 ; Rom. xvi.
Q. What is the fifth proof?
A. The Scriptures are given as a rule of faith, hence they must be complete and adequate;
for a rule, to answer its end, will not admit of diminution or addition. Rom. xvi. 24. The
doctrines of the Scriptures are said to be "made known to all nations for the obedience of
Q. What is the sixth evidence ?
A. Traditions are distinctly rejected. Mat. xv. (f, 9. '! Thus have ye made the
commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. But in vain they do worship me,
teaching for doctrine the commandments of men." Also, Is. xxix. 13 14; Is. viii. 20.
Q. What is the seventh argument ?
A. No satisfactory reason can be given why God should commit one part of satisfactory
word to writing, and the other part equally essential to the salvation of the church, to be
transmitted viva voce-because the traditions of men are uncertain at best, and liable to be
greatly corrupted in the lapse of time.
Q. What is the eighth argument ?
A. There is no rule given by which can be determined the genuineness of traditions, and
all that can be pleaded is that such is the testimony and the authority of the church, which
is itself a matter of controversy.
Q. What is the ninth argument against tradition ?
A. The origin of traditions is dubious, and their authority uncertain, their meaning
perplexed and ambiguous, and the impossibility of discovering a reason for them ; the
only safe course is, to adhere rigidly to the Scriptures as the only rule of faith and
Q. Is it true that the Roman apostasy makes tradition a chief part of the rule of faith ?
A. It is undoubtedly true. 1 . Thus speak the writers of the Catechism of the Council of
Trent, p. 17 : " All the doctrines of Christianity are derived from the word of God, which
includes Scripture and tradition!" 2. thus speaks the Roman Catholic authorised version :
Note on 2 Tim. iii. 16, " If we would have this whole rule of Christian faith and practice,
we must not be content with those scriptures which Timothy knew from his infancy, that
is with the Old Testament alone; nor yet with the New Testament, without taking along
with it the traditions of the apostles, and the interpretation of the church, to which the
apostles delivered both the book and the true meaning of it. " 3. And the creed of Pope
Pius makes Holy Mother church the only judge of the true sense of the scripture. "I also
admit the sacred scriptures, according to the sense which the holy mother church has
held, and does hold, to whom it belongs to judge of the true sense and interpretation of
the holy scriptures ; nor will I ever take or interpret otherwise than according to the
unanimous consent of the Fathers."
Q. Does not the Roman church in this matter of traditions follow the example of the
apostate Jews, (before and at the time of our Saviour,) who made void the law by their
A. Yes. The Jews divided the law into two parts, written and oral. The later, they taught,
was received by Moses on Mount Sinai, and delivered by him to the care of Joshua, who
deposited it with the 70 elders, by whom it was communicated to the prophets, and these
intrusted it to the greater synagogue, and from them it was transmitted to future
generations, until it was collected and treasured up in the Talmud. In like manner the
Roman Pontiffs have invented a twofold revelation, the one written and the other
unwritten, the substance of the latter being, as they allege, those things which Christ and
his apostles taught and transacted, but of which they have transmitted no written record,
but which are now exhibited in a tangible hum in the peculiar doctrines and ceremonies
of the Roman church.
Q. Is not the rise of this system of tradition easily accounted for ?
A. Yes. Those who had seen and heard the apostles naturally treasured up in their
memories many of their observations and opinions, and brought them forward in support
of their sentiments. 'Great attention would be paid to a man who could affirm, "I heard
the apostle Paul, or Peter, say so and so." In process of time, the true words of the
apostles, by passing through so many hands, would be corrupted and gradually lost ; for it
is utterly impossible to preserve to any lengthened period what is dependent upon oral
tradition. Nevertheless the plea was found too advantageous to be suffered to die away.
When new opinions were broached, and new rites invented, an alleged apostolical
tradition supplied the place of scriptural authority ; the decree of some council secured its
reception, and all objection would soon be silenced by the dread of incurring the
vengeance of " Holy Church." But there is one who has said, "Ye have made the
commandment of God of none effect by your tradition."
Q. Is not this whole matter of tradition among Jews and Papists, an artifice of Satan to
seduce men from the simplicity that is in Christ?
A. Yes: The "Traditions of the Elders" was an artifice of Satan to seduce the Jews from
the practice of the written law, to extinguish this law given to Israel. In like manner the
tradition of the Romans is an invention of the adversary to lead men astray from the truth
as it is in Jesus, and to extinguish its light in the church ; and when men " love darkness
rather than light," they are given up, judicially, to follow in the devious path of their own
"invention :" Rom, i. 28, " And even as they did not like to retain God in their
knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind.' 2 Th. ii. 10-12, "Because they
received not the love of the truth that they might be saved ; for this cause God shall sew
them strong delusion that they should believe a lie; that they all might be damned who
believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
Q. Is not Timothy exhorted 1 Tim. vi. 20, to keep with care certain principles and
observances intrusted to him; and the Thessalonians-to hold fast the traditions which they
had been taught? 2 Th. ii. 15.
A. Yes. Yet in the case of the deposit made with Timothy, the form of sound words, or
the gifts and graces specified its 2 Tim, i. 13, 14, and in the case of the Thessalonians the
traditions referred to designate simply a two-fold mode then employed by the apostle, of
delivering the will of God viz; Viva Voce and by writing, both exhibiting the same "form
of sound words."
Q. Are not the Scriptures, (or God speaking in the scriptures,) the supreme judge in all
matters of controversy, and in the interpretation of Scripture? or is this the prerogative of
the church or Roman Pontiff?
A. The former is the truth. The holy scriptures, (or God speaking in them,) is the supreme
and infallible judge in religious controversies.
Q. What is the first proof?
A. God directs us to this tribunal only. Is. viii. 20, "To the law and to the testimony, if
they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." Also Luke
Q. What is the second proof ?
A. The example of Christ and the apostles, who in all their controversies respecting
matters of faith, refer to the scriptures as supreme authority, from whose decision there is
no appeal. Matt. iv. Christ repelled the temptations of the devil by "It is written." Also
xxii. 32, He proves the resurrection by an appeal to the scriptures. Jno. v. 39, He directs
to them as bearing testimony to his missionship. Also Luke xxiv. 44. And the apostle
Paul. Acts xxvi. 22, "Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day,
witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophet
Moses did say should come." Acts xvii. 11, The Bereans are commended for resorting to
the scriptures as the supreme and infallible judge. The Pharisees and Sadducees
condemned for their ignorance of them as the infallible judge. Matt, xxii., xv. 3, " Why
do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition ? Ye do err not knowing
Q. What is the third proof?
A. All other judges (church and Pontiffs) are liable to err, but the scriptures are infallible.
l.Jno. iv. 1, " Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God;
because many false prophets are gone out into the world." Is. viii. 20 ; Acts xvii. 11.
Q. What is the fourth proof ?
A. As God is the author of the scriptures, he alone can be their infallible interpreter. Men
are prone to err. James iv: 12, "There is one lawgiver who is able to save and to destroy;
who art thou that judgest another?" See Matt, xxiii. 8-10.
Q. What is the fifth proof?
A. Neither the divine author of the Scripture, nor any of the apostles, have anywhere
designated this infallible judge; distinct from and independent of the Scriptures
Q. What is the sixth argument ?
A. The Roman Pontiffs have not exercised their alleged infallibility in composing the
controversies which rend the unity of the Papal Church-between the Thomists and
Scotists-the Dominicans and Jesuits-and the Jesuits and Jansenists, &c, so to quell which
would quickly redound to the honour of the Papal See.
Q. What is the seventh proof?
A. The church cannot be constituted the infallible Judge; this would give her the power of
deciding in her own favour, as the controversy respects her own power and infallibility.
Q. What is the eighth argument ?
A. The same argument applies to the Pope, councils and the fathers. It would be to make
them judges in their own case. Besides, they are prone to err, and have erred, and
flagrantly contradicted each other, council against council, Pope against Pope, father
against father. Besides, not a few of the Popes have been heretics and profane and
abandoned men, the pontiffs themselves being witnesses.
Q. Dues not Christ constitute the church the Supreme Judge in controversies ? Mat, xviii.
17. " Tell it to the church. "
A. By no means : because the injunction does not relate to matters of faith but to private
offences, matters of scandal according to the Jewish discipline, who were accustomed to
excommunicate the contumacious.
Q. Do not all Protestants hold the doctrine of the supreme and ultimate supremacy of the
Word of God in religious controversy ?
A. It is a Protestant doctrine, and, whilst it is held in theory, it is often violated in practice
by the adoption of many principles and practices, for which there cannot be given-a thus
saith the Lord-and which are met by the challenge-w/zo hath required this at thy hand!
Civil Government the Moral Ordinance of God.
Q. What is civil government ?
A. It is a divine institution for the government of mankind in their outward secular
relations, in subservience to their spiritual and eternal welfare. Rom. xiii. 3, 4. "For rulers
are not a terror to good works but to the evil. Wilt thou not be afraid of the power-do that
which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same-for he is the minister of God to thee
for good. "
Q. Is not civil government a matter merely of human expediency, originating in the
necessities and convenience of the human race?
A. No. It grows out of the relation that naturally and necessarily exists between God and
intellectual moral creatures, and the relations existing between those creatures towards
Q. How is this manifest?
A. In the fact that the essence of all civil power resided in Adam, upon whom God, at his
creation, conferred the authority necessary for the exercise of civil government over
subordinate moral agents, and over all earthly property. Ps. viii. 5-8. "For thou hast made
him (man) a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things
under his feet; all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field ; the fowl of the air, and
the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passes through the paths of the sea."
Q. Is civil magistracy founded in grace ?
A. Civil magistracy is not founded in grace, but proceeds from God, not as the God of
grace, but as the God of nature. It springs from him as the supreme moral governor of the
universe, having its foundation, as we have stated in stance, in natural principles, which
belong to the constitution of man, and not in the mediatorial system; At the same time (as
we have proved in general, and as will be shown in the next section in relation to civil
government in particular) God has placed the management of the whole affairs of the
moral universe in the hands of his Son as Mediator.
Q. Is God, indeed, the supreme moral governor of the human race?
A. Yes. Although man has by apostasy thrown off his allegiance to the Creator, yet God
is the Lord of man, and claims his subjection. Ps. xlvii. 7. "For God is the king of all the
earth." Dan. iv. 34. "1 blessed the Most high and I praised and honoured Him that liveth
for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from
generation to generation." Ps. xxix. "The Lord sitteth king forever." Jer, x. 10. "The Lord
is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king" Is. xliii. 1 5 "I am the Lord,
your holy one, the Creator of Israel you king".
Q. Is civil magistracy, as a legitimate authority, the ordinance of God?
A. Yes. Rom. xiii. 1, 2. "Let every soul be subject to the higher powers, for there is no
power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever, therefore resisteth
the power, resisteth the ordinance of God. "
Q. Does not this passage teach, that any government which has a being in Providence,
however immoral its constitution and administration, is the ordinance of God?
A. By no means, but describes a government possessed of moral attributes consistent
with the nature of an ordinance of God.
Q. How do you make this evident t
A. It is evident, 1. From the radical meaning of the term power, e^ovaia, derived from
e£eaTL and signifying rightful, lawful authority, that which is licensed of God as
agreeable to his own moral nature, from whom all our rights are derived. 2. From the
legitimate meaning of the phrase higher powers. By comparing the text with Phil. ii. 3,
we find the word higher translated better, and thus learn the power to which obedience is
demanded, is a moral, or more excellent power, excelling in moral character. 3. The
moral character of the power, as the ordinance of God, appears from the characteristics of
the ruler. He is entitled the "Minister of God, " a representative of the Most High in his
rule, a" terror to evil doers, " a "praise to them that do well". It is as possessed of these
attributes only that he can claim to be the ordinance of God. The reverse exhibits the
ordinance of the devil. 4. God cannot, without denying himself ordain (in the sense of the
text, as an institution that meets his approbation,) an immoral power. 5. The submission
required is for conscience sake; conscience can never be bound by any immoral
obligation. "It is under the law to Christ."
Q. Do not many professed Christians interpret the passage as demanding allegiance, for
conscience, sake, to "powers that then were?"
A. Yes. A number do; because it is agreeable to their worldly interests, and is
correspondent with their false theory of civil government. But, says an eminent Seceder,
"In this text we have obviously a general statement laid down of what magistrates ought
to be. "
Q. Is there not abundant evidence in the page itself, that the apostle speaks generally of
the character and duties of magistracy, and not with particular reference to the tyrannical
and wicked rulers, who, at that time, swayed the sceptre o/Rome?I
A. Yes. The apostle says, "Rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil." Did
Nero answer this character ? The apostle says, "Do that which is good and thou shalt
have praise of the same." Had the Christians this? They were the best subjects in the
Roman Empire. But had they "praise" for being so? Why, the merest tyro in ecclesiastical
history knows that in spite of all the loveliness of their conduct, and their distinguished
benevolence towards their very enemies, on the simple ground of their being Christians,
they were deprived of their civil rights, and persecuted even to imprisonment and death.
Was this on the part of 'the magistrates to be "the minister of God" to them "for good? "
Q. Is not the phrase ordained of God Susceptible of a twofold interpretation?
A. Yes. Things are ordained either by the order of his council or providential will, or they
are ordained by the order of His word, or preceptive will.
Q. Which of these is our rule ?
A. The former is God's rule, the latter is ours. Deut. xxix. 29. " The secret things belong
unto the Lord our God; but those things which are revealed unto us and to Our Children
forever," that we may do all the words of this law.
Q. According to which of these is civil government "ordained of God ?"
A. According to the latter, civil government is " the ordinance of God to men for good."
"Ordained signifies that the powers are of God ordained ; that is, are circumscribed by
certain rules of right and honesty, within which rules, unless they contain themselves,
they degenerate from the ordinance of God: " Pareus. "The powers here (Rom. xiii.) are
said to be ordained of God, and verse 2, to be the ordinance of God. The apostle speaks in
the general, without application to the Roman or any other, but on the contrary, it is stood
upon that he intends his precept of a lawfully called' magistrate: " Herle.
Q. Can you give any scriptural examples or illustrations o/this interpretation?
A. Yes. 1. According to God's providential will Israel rejected Samuel, whilst according
to God's preceptive will, they should have continued Samuel's government and not
sought a king. Hosea viii. 4, "They have set up kings, but not by me; they have made
princes and I knew it not" Did not approve of the deed. 2. By the former Athaliah
usurped the government, by the latter she should have resigned the government, and
yielded obedience to the posterity of Ahaziah. 3. Adonijah the usurper, though he had the
pretence of hereditary right, and also possession by providence, was, according to God's
preceptive will, forced to yield the government to Solomon. I Kings ii. 13, "Thou
knowest," says Adonijah, "that the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel set their faces
on me, that I should reign ; howbeit the kingdom is turned about, and is become my
brother's; for it was his from the Lord. "
Q. Have tyrants and usurpers no other right to rule than the fact of their elevation in
God's sovereign providence, who sends them as he does the tempest and plague, to
chastise the guilty nations ?
A. They have no other claim, as the scriptures abundantly testify. Zech. xi. 6, " I will no
more pity the inhabitants of the land, saith the Lord: but lo, I will deliver the men every
one into his neighbour's hand, and into the hand of 'his king; and they shall smite the land,
and out of their hand I will not deliver them." Is. xlii., "Who gave Jacob for a spoil,
and Israel to the robbers, did not the Lord, he against whom we have sinned." Also Is. x.
5, 6; Job xii. 6, Hence called by the holy spirit by the names of the most unclean ravenous
beasts. 1. Lions: Prov. xxviii. 15 ; 2 Tim. iv. 17 ; Zeph. iii. 3. 2. Bears : Prov. xxviii. 15;
Dan. vii. 5-1 7. 3. Bulls: Ps. xxii.; Amos iv. 1. 4. Dragons : Is. Ii, 9. 5. Serpents: Is. xxvii.
1. Yea, leopards, wolves, foxes, dogs, fishers and hunters, &c, &c. See Concordance.
Q. Is civil government, then, a moral institution as it is the ordinance of God?
A. Yes: It is designed of God to be a representation of his own moral authority and rule.
Q. How do you make this appear?
A. In addition to what is stated above, it is evident, in the first place, that civil
government is instituted for the preservation of moral order among the human race. Rom.
xiii. 3. According to this text, rulers are ordained to promote "good works," by the
exhibition of the rewards which follow them, and the pains which ensue upon the
practice of the contrary.
Q. What is the second evidence?
A. The great object of this ordinance of God is to promote the glory of God, inasmuch as
the magistrate in the administration of this ordinance is the minister of God, and as his
minister must give a representation his rule of God's moral nature; and of course have in
charge the honour of God, and should suffer no encroachment upon the glory of His
throne. Every species of immorality is dishonouring to God, and cannot be countenanced
by his minister. 2 Samuel xxiii. "The God of Israel said, The Rock of Israel spoke to me,
he that ruleth over men, MUST BF JUST, RULING IN THE FEAR OF THE LORD."
Q. How is it further evident?
A. In that magistracy as instituted of God to promote the happiness of mankind, for the
ruler is not only the minister Of God, BUT THE MINISTER OF GOD TO MEN FOR
GOOD. God has ordained him to be the instrument in diffusing enjoyment among his
subjects, by securing their Obedience to the immoral law, decreed by eternal wisdom.
"Whose ways are pleasantness, and all her paths peace."
Q. What is the fourth evidence that civil government is a moral ordinance?
A. Inasmuch as it is ordained to preserve the rights of God among the human family. The
rights of God are expressed in the first table of the Decalogue, as will appear more fully
in another section of this work. "Render unto God the things that are God's."
Q. Wherein does it further appear?
A. Its morality appears, moreover, in this, that in order to render it effectual in securing
glory to God, and happiness to man, the magistrate is armed with rewards and pun-
ishments, to be dispensed with justice according to the law of God, -Of which he is the
minister. 1. Rewards: Rom. xiii. 3, " Do that which is good, and thou shalt have PRAISE
of the same!" The magistrate is the encourager of practical morality and piety. 2.
Punishments: v. 4, "But if thou do that which is evil be afraid, for he beareth not the
sword in vain ; for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that
doeth evil. His power as a revenger appealing to the principle of fear, tends to prevent
crime; and he doth not bear the sword in vain-he must actually take revenge on him that
doeth evil. The object of this revenge is not merely the reformation of the criminal, nor
the influence of terror to prevent crime, he is a revenger ordained its the minister of God
to show the righteous indignation of Jehovah in punishing the guilty. In the capital
punishment of the murderer, its object evidently cannot be his reformation; and whatever
modern visionaries may dream, every Bible believer must admit that the judge of all the
earth did once arm the civil power with the sword to take away life. He was, at least, then
an avenger; but Paul says he is so still. The word avenger admits of no other
interpretation. Could we say of a father who chastises his Child that he is a revenger ?
Might we say of our redeemer, when he chastises those whom he loveth, that he is a
revenger ? The magistrate then is authorized to take vengeance, to execute wrath upon
criminals; and thus in a righteous, but awful manner, illustrates the moral nature of
civil government as it is the ordinance of God.
Q. Does not the principle upon which capital punishment is justified prove the morality
of the ordinance of civil government?
A. Yes. Capital punishment is inflicted to sustain the divine justice, which he exercises
by the hand of the magistrate who acts as his minister; nothing is done here by the
temerity of men, but everything by the authority of God who commands it; for we can
find no valid objection to the infliction of public vengeance, unless the justice of God be
restrained from the punishment of crimes, and who can lay restraints upon the Judge of
all the earth, who will do right? Paul says of the magistrate, "That he beareth not the
sword in vain, for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that
Q. Does not the dignity of the title with which God honours magistrates show the
morality of the ordinance ?
A. Yes. They are called "Gods" Ps. lxxxii. 1-6. This is not an appellation of trivial
importance, for it implies that they have their command from God, that they are invested
with his authority, and are altogether his representatives, and act as his vicegerents; and
that their commission has been given to them by God, to serve him in that office, and, as
Moses and Jehoshaphat said to the judges whom they appointed, to "judge notjor men
butt for the Lord. " If magistrates, then, are the vicegerents of God, it "behoves them to
watch with all care, earnestness, and diligence, that in their administration they may
exhibit to men an image, as it were, of the providence, care, goodness, benevolence, and
justice of God," and in this manner beautifully illustrate the moral excellence of this
ordinance of the Deity.
Q. Does not its moral nature further appear from the design of civil government as God's
A. Yes. This design is thus forcibly stated by Calvin; "It is designed as long as we live in
this world to cherish and support the external worship of God, to preserve the pure
doctrine of religion, to defend the constitution of the Church, to regulate our lives in a
manner requisite for the society of man, to form our manners to civil justice, to promote
our concord with each other, and to establish general peace and tranquillity."
Q. Is not its moral nature finally evident, inasmuch as it is ordained to preserve and foster
the rights and liberties of mankind ?
A. "To this object," says Calvin, " the magistrates ought to apply their greatest diligence,
that they suffer not the liberty, of which they are constituted guardians, to be in any
respect diminished , much less to be violated. If they are inactive and unconcerned about
this, they are perfidious to their office and traitors to their country. "
Q. To what kind of submission is this ordinance of God entitled ?
A. It is entitled to conscientious submission. Rom. xiii. 5, "Wherefore ye must needs be
subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake:" from a love to God's
ordinance, and respect for his authority, exercised by his vicegerent according to his law.
Q. It is not true, then, that every power that is set up by the majority of the people, and
exists by the providence of God, is to be acknowledged and obeyed for conscience?
A. It is not true. For the will of the people is not the law in regard to the nature of
magistracy, but the will of God; and as the will of the majority often sets up immoral
constitution of government, in violation of the moral character of magistracy, as it is the
ordinance of God, hence a distinction must ever be kept up, in respect of obligation,
between magistrates set up by the preceptive will of God, and such as exist by his
providential will only; and the slavish dogma, "That all providential magistrates are also
preceptive, " is forever to be excluded. Hosea viii. 4, " They have set up kings, but not by
me. They have made princes, and I know it not. "
Q. Which among the various forms of government approaches nearest the Scripture
model, as to its outward constitution ?
A. The Republican form-such as was possessed by the Israelites before they wickedly and
rebelliously "set up a king. "
Q. Will this be the form in the millennium?
A. There are many arguments in favour of this opinion. 1. The gracious promise, Is. i. 20,
"1 will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning:
afterwards thou shalt be the city of righteousness, the faithful city." 2. From its adaptation
to fulfil another prophecy -Jer. Hi. 17, "At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne
of the Lord, and all nations shall be gathered to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem." This
can easily be verified by representation. 3. The Scriptural principle, that the people have
a voice in the election of their rulers: and though a monarchy may be elective, yet such a
form will not so fully as a republic preserve the liberty of the Subject. 4. The title king, in
Scripture, does not signify an king in the vulgar sense, but any one possessed of the
supreme power, and is applicable to the President of a Republic.
Q. Is not civil government, in one point of view, the ordinance of man?
A. Yes. It is in one view the ordinance of man, a human creation. 1 Pet, ii. 13, Forms of
magistracy, or the laws for the regulation of the commonwealth, are the ordinance of
man. It is lawful for men to model their constitutions of government in such a manner as
may appear must suitable to them, provided such constitutions, in their principles and
distribution of power, be in nothing contrary to the divine law. Deut. xvii. 14-17, 20,
"When thou art come unto the land, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a
king over me. Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee whom the Lord thy God
shall choose. Thou shalt not set a stranger over thee. But he shall not multiply horses to
himself: neither shall he multiply wives: neither silver and gold. That his heart be not
lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment."
Q. Is this view of civil government, as being the moral ordinance of God, a peculiar
doctrine of the Reformed Presbyterian Church?
A. It is. The prevailing sentiment is, that civil government is merely a matter of human
expediency, to be regulated entirely by the will of the majority, and consequently, that
every system which the majority sets up is to be sustained as a lawful power, even though
in its principles and distribution of power it tramples under foot the rights of God, and
robs the subject of civil liberty.
On Christ's Headship over the Nations.
Q. What is meant by the term nations?
A. Civil associations-men existing in civil or political institutions; including the office
bearers, by whom the laws are administered, as well as the people at large, for whose
good they are appointed to govern.
Q. What is meant by Headship in the present application of the term?
A. A headship of authority and moral supremacy, not a headship of providential rule or
Q. Are we to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ exercises a moral supremacy over the
civil or political associations of men, simply as such?
A. Yes. Directly in their secular or political character, he claims dominion over them, and
demands their public recognition of his authority.
Q. Is Jesus Christ possessed of peculiar moral fitness to exercise dominion over the
A. Yes he is the Son of God and the Son of Man God manifest in the flesh-and as such is
qualified to exercise this authority. Is. ix. 6 "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is
given : and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called
Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace."
Q. In what character does he exercise dominion over the nation-, in their political
A. In his Mediatorial character, in which alone, as has been demonstrated, he is the
subject of a gift.
Q. Is this authority conferred as a gift upon Him?
A. Yes. It is the gift of the Father. Christ himself says, "All power is delivered unto me
of my Father." Luke x. 22. And the Father says, "I will make him my first born Higher
than the kings of any land." Psa. lxxxix. 27.
Q. Is it necessary that Christ should possess this mediatorial dominion over the nations ?
A. Yes. It is necessary that he should have power over the nations, that he might
commission his ministers to go within their limits, and preach the everlasting gospel
(Matt, xxviii. 18,19). Unless his authority were paramount to existing governments, it
would have been a usurpation inconsistent with divine perfection to have sent his
ambassadors to negotiate with the inhabitants of the earth.
Q. For what other reason should Christ have power over the nations?
A. To make the Gospel efficient. The mediatory power to make his people willing could
not reach into any nation over which his authority did not extend. The kings of the earth
have sufficient forces to banish from their dominions the heralds of the cross ; and there
is enmity in the hearts of men sufficient to reject the Gospel of God, and to render
its preaching all together abortive, unless the mediatorial efficiency accompany the
ambassadors of Christ, and the message which they bring.
Q. What other reason makes it necessary?
A. It is necessary that he should rule the nations as the reward of his sufferings. Phil. ii. 8,
9, "Wherefore" (because he suffered) "God hath highly exalted him and given him a
name which is above every name," &c. Christ in his humiliation was subject to rulers. Is.
xlix. 7. He sat before them to be tried and judged, and although perfectly innocent, the
Lord of life condescended to suffer the sentence of death, passed by an earthly ruler, to be
executed upon himself. In his exalted state he must be ruler in the kingdoms of men;
have a right to demand their submission to his authority, and take such measures as will
secure the fulfilment of all his purposes respecting them.
Q. Why is it further necessary?
A. It is necessary that Immanuel should have power over the nations and their respective
governments, as the guardians of his Church in the midst of her enemies, and as the
terror of all those who are his foes; otherwise his children might be in a situation in which
he could not regulate them, and his enemies might act with impunity against him. Ps. ex.
1-3 "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies
thy footstool. The Lord shall send the rod of city strength out of Zion : rule thou in the
midst of thine enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power."
Q. Are not the promises of the Father to the Son a forcible testimony to the truth of the
doctrine of his mediatorial dominion over the nations?
A. Yes. The Father has given a number of promises; to this effect, and they are
conclusive proof of his dominion over the nations. 1. Ps. lxxxix. 19, 26, 27, "Then thou
spakest in vision to my holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I
have exalted one chosen out of the people. He shall cry unto me, Thou art my Father, my
God, and the Rock of my Salvation. Also, I will make him my first born higher than the
kings of the earth." 2. Ps. 2:8, "Ask of me and I will give thee the heathen (nations) for
thine inheritance, the uttermost parts of time earth for thy possession,"-upon which grant
the injunction of submission is issued to the rulers and judges -vs 10-12, "Be wise now,
therefore, O ye kings; be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and
rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son., lest he be angry." 3. Is. liii. 12, "Therefore will I
divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong ; because
he hath poured out his soul unto death."
Q. Does not the prophet Daniel proclaim the fulfilment of the promises of the Father, in
his exhibition of the actual investiture of the Lord Jesus Christ with this royal dominion
over the nations?
A Yes. Daniel in the seventh chapter, verses 13 and 14 of his prophecy exhibits this
sublime event. "I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the son of man came with
the clouds of heaven, and came to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before
him. And there was given him dominion, glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations,
and languages should serve him." In the context we have an array of the fierce nations of
the earth, as enemies of the church, frowning upon her members. The Chaldean, Medo-
Persian, Grecian, and Roman empires. The latter, especially under its antichristian form.
The ancient of days, Jehovah, occupies the throne. The angels conveying into his
presence the Son of Man, the Lord Jesus Christ, in our nature, and upon him, by the
authority of Jehovah, the Father, dominion is conferred, which extends over all nations.
Q. Was not a similar representation of this sublime scene made to John the apostle while
in his banishment to Patmos?
A. Yes. In Rev. v. 1, 2, 5, 7. 1. This sealed book contains the mind or purposes of
Jehovah, or the outline of providential events, concerning the church and the nations of
the earth, from the days of John in Patmos until the end of time. 2. The opening of the
seals not only reveals the events recorded in the volume, but with a view also to their
actual accomplishment. This is obvious from the next chapter in which the six seals are
broken, by which judgments Pagan Rome is utterly subverted. 3. The placing of the book
in the hands of the Lamb to loose its seals, gave the Lamb full power over the book and
all its contents, not only as matters to be revealed, but as events to be accomplished. 4.
The Lamb deserved this distinction. "He prevailed, conquered, to open the book and
loose the seven seals thereof." By the merit of his blood as " the Lamb slain," he obtained
the right to administer the kingdom of providence, in order to apply his redemption to its
objects. The same idea is taught in Phil. ii. 8, 9. The conclusion is obvious. The lamb, the
Mediator, has Lordship over the nations of the earth, as he, is the administrator of the
kingdom of providence.
Q. Is not the Headship of Christ over the nations implied in the universality of the
mediatorial supremacy ?
A. Yes. 1. The declarations, Mat. xxviii. 18 ; Col. ii. 10 ; 1 Peter iii. 22. "All power is
given unto me in heaven and in earth. Christ-which is the head of all principality and
power. Who is on the right hand of God. Angels, mid authorities, and powers being made
subject to him - imply very distinctly his dominion over the nations. 2. The idea of
universality is often expressed not merely by a general term, but by the enumeration of
particulars, and by the exclusion of all exceptions. Eph. i. 21 ; Heb. ii. 8 ; 1 Cor. xv. 27.
"And set him at his own right hand-far above all principalities, and power, and might, and
dominion, and every name that is named not only in this world, but also in that which is
to come."-" For in that he put all things in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not
put under him. " When he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that "He is
excepted which did put till things under him." It must be passing strange if, after these
statements, the nations are excepted from the mediatorial rule.
Q. Do not the titles given to Christ clearly demonstrate his headship of the nations?
A. Yes. They are most satisfactory and conclusive, because it cannot be conceived that
the Holy Ghost would dishonour the Mediator with a series of unmeaning titles. He is
"the spirit of truth," and does not bear false witness.
Q. What is the first title?
A. He is entitled, Ps. lxxxix. 27, the FIRST BORN - higher then the kings of the earth.
To the first born belonged the dominion. It is not as the Son of God essentially consider-
ed, but as Mediator, that he is here described as "made " higher than the kings of the
earth. Besides the words might have been rendered Most High, or supreme over the kings
of the earth. }TvS? is often used to express the supremacy of God, and is translated
"Most High" Dan. iv. 32-34. The dominion of Messiah over civil rulers on the one hand,
and the subjection of such to him on the other, are thus clearly implied in this title.
Q. Which is the second title?
A. In Ps. xxii. 28, he is designated "Governor among the nations." This psalm
unquestionably refers to Christ as mediator. The preceding verse foretells the extension
of the church of Christ. "All kindreds of the nations shall worship before him." And as
what follows is introduced as accounting for the universal spread of the kingdom of
Messiah, it must be considered as referring to the same illustrious personage. "For the
kingdom is the Lord's, and he is the Governor among the nations." This eminent title,
consequently, must recognise the mediatorial dominion over the nations.
Q. Which is the third title?
A. In the prophecy of Jeremiah there occurs the following passage: "Forasmuch as there
is none like unto the O Lord; thou art great, and thy name is great in might. Who would
not fear thee, KING OF NATIONS !" Jer. x. 4-7. Nations here means organized civil
bodies. King is title of office, expressive of supreme rule or government. He to whom
the title belongs is the true and living God, the God of Israel, as distinguished from
heathen idols. But as the God of Israel is God in Christ, the title may be regarded as
equally applicable to the Redeemer.
Q. Which is the fourth?
A. The writer of the Apocalypse proclaims Jesus Christ "THE PRINCE OF THE KINGS
OF THE EARTH." Rev. i. 5. There can be no room to doubt for a moment, that it is
Christ as Mediator who is here spoken of as having the supremacy over civil rulers,
supreme and subordinate -all in civil authority, whether in the legislative, judiciary, or
executive branches of Government. Of such Jesus Christ is PRINCE, apxcov, ruler,
Lord, chief, the first in power, authority, and dominion.
Q. Which is the fifth title?
A. The most splendid title of all remains to be noticed. It occurs twice in the Revelation
of John xvii. 14 ; xix. 16. "These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Land) shall
overcome them, for he is LORD OF LORDS AND KING OF KINGS. "-"His name is
called the Word of God -and he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written-
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS." This title teaches that the Lord Jesus Christ
has authority over kings as kings. "King of kings" clearly implies a sovereignty over
kings in their regal character, and not merely as private members of his kingdom. A
parallel case illustrates this. Esth. vii. 12. "Artaxerxes king of kings." The empire of the
Persian monarch was comprised of 127 provinces or minor kingdoms. Now, was
Artaxerxes king of all the inferior kings of his empire as men only, and as ordinary
subjects? Or was he their sovereign in their royal character as they occupied their regal
thrones? In the latter certainly. Would one of those petty kings of his empire dared to
have said, "I am your subject as a man, but as a king on my throne I am your equal, and
independent of your authority." The Persian "King of kings" would have soon crushed
him as a rebel. The title therefore, in its specific import, teaches that Christ is the
sovereign of kings in their regal official character and station. The title further teaches,
that kings and the nations which they govern bear the same political relation to Christ,
that the nations bear to their immediate kings. That is, kings and their subjects are the
subjects of the kingdom of Jesus Christ, and should as such be obedient to his authority.
Q. Does not Rev. iii. 7, "He that hath the key of David," teach Christ's civil dominion
over the nations ?
A. Yes. "The key of David" is the symbol of civil rule. This is illustrated by the case of
Eliakim, Is. xxii. 20-22, of whom it is said, "the key of the house of David will I lay upon
his shoulder;" and, according to which promise, he was called to the government of Judah
and Jerusalem. It was civil power that Eliakim exercised as treasurer to Hezekiah. He
succeeded to the treasurer's robe and key of office. "The key is an emblem of trust; and
the expression alludes to the fashion of keys, in old times, which were long and made
like a hook, and then laid upon the shoulder, and worn there as a badge of office - Lowth.
"The key of the house of David," is, therefore, the badge of civil rule, and, as applied to
Christ, presents him as the son of David according to the flesh, and as succeeding to
David's throne, and exercising dominion as the ruler of the nations. David was not the
head of the church, but of the state; although as the minister of God, he exercised a
guardian but not a sovereign care over the church. He was the type of Christ, as the
governor of the nations, making all things contribute to the good of the church-or of true
Q. Was not human society, upon the apostasy of the first Adam, (whom we have seen the
first example of civil sovereignty) subjected to another and more distinguished head-
THE SECOND ADAM, THE LORD FROM HEAVEN, in order that the race, under
him, might be brought back to Jehovah, from whom they had revolted?
A. Yes. Paul, in the second chapter of Hebrews, quotes the 8th Psalm, which we have
adduced as proof of the original dominion of the first Adam, and applies it to Christ
the second Adam-the Lord from Heaven thereby teaching, that the crown of dominion
which fell from the head of rebel Adam, has been placed upon the brow of Jesus,
constituting him "king of the whole earth. " "But now we see not yet all things put under
him, but we See Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of
death, crowned with glory and honour. "
Q. Do not "the four living creatures," the apocalyptic symbols of the faithful ministry,
and the "four and twenty elders," symbols of the united congregations of the Old and
New Testament saints, acknowledge Christ's dominion over the nations?
A. Yes. They celebrate his praise with joy. Rev. v. 8, . "And when he (Christ) had taken
the book, the four living creatures, and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb-
and they sang a new Song, Saying, thou art worthy to take the book and open the seals
Q. Do not the innumerable company of angels surrounding the throne of the Lamb,
concur with the ministry and church in these praises of the Lamb as governor among the
A. Yes. They celebrate his exaltation to the throne of the kingdom of Providence, and the
government of the nations, with notes of the highest praise. Rev. v. 1 1. "And I beheld,
and I heard the voice of many angels round
I about the throne-and their number was ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands
of thousands, saying, with a loud voice, worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive
power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. "
Q. Does not the united acclamation of all other creatures testify their acknowledgment of
his exaltation to the dignity of king of kings, and ruler of the heavens and the earth?
A. Yes. They honour with rapture in the Song of the Angels and of the Redeemed. Rev.
v. 13. "And every creature which is in Heaven and on the earth, and under the earth, and
such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, blessing and honour, and
glory and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, AND UNTO THE LAMB
FOREVER AND EVER."
Q, Is not this doctrine of the moral supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ, as mediator, the
great matter of controversy with the nations; the prominent principle of the Apocalypse;
and peculiar to the Reformed Presbyterian Church?
A. Yes. The whole book of the Revelation relates to Christ, as mediator; and his headship
over the nations is its most prominent truth. In the preface to the splendid visions of the
book, Christ proclaims himself "PRINCE OF THE KINGS OF THE EARTH" and in the
last conflict with the nations his enemies, amidst the fury of the final battle, he exhibits
conspicuously "on his vesture and on his thigh," the splendid title "KING OF KINGS,
AND LORD OF LORDS;" intimating clearly, that the defence of his claims, as ruler of
the nations is the great object of his warfare, and its acknowledgment the result of the
victory which he obtains over his adversaries ; and is, consequently, the last article in the
testimony of the WITNESSES, and peculiar to them, and remaining to be sealed by their
precious blood. Rev. xvii. "The LAMB SHALL OVERCOME THEM (the kingdoms of
this world), FOR HE IS LORD OF LORDS P AND KING OF KINGS-AND THEY
THAT ARE WITH HIM ARE CALLED, AND CHOSEN, AND FAITHFUL.
On the Subjection of the Nations to God and to Christ.
Q. Does not the mediatorial dominion of Jesus Christ over the nations, exclude Jehovah
from the throne?
A. By no means. 1. The economical relation illustrated in the first section, clearly shows
that Christ reigns by the mutual consent of the persons of the Godhead, being designated
to the office by an act of the divine will, and constituted Lord of all by the appointment of
the Father; and, consequently, the Father rules by him, as his delegate. 2. The mediatory
person and the second person of the Trinity, is but one and the same person, and Jehovah
reigns in the person of the Son. 3. The objection proves too much ; for it may as well be
argued that a work ascribed to the Son necessarily excludes the agency of the Father and
the Holy Spirit; and consequently, that the first and third persons had nothing to do with
creation (which is ascribed to the Son), as affirm that the ascription of an act to the
Messiah excludes the agency of Jehovah. 4. Christ himself, in order to anticipate every
objection of this kind, taught, while on earth, that his agency did not exclude the
constancy of his Father's working; nor did the Father's agency, about the very same
object, imply the Son's idleness. Jno. v. 17, "My Father worketh hitherto and I work.
Q. Upon the principle of the economical arrangement or covenant between the persons in
the Godhead is the acknowledgment of the mediatorial authority of the Son substantially
and acknowledgement of that of the other persons in the Trinity, and so of the dominion
of Jehovah ?
A. Yes; this is manifest, 1 . Upon the principle laid down by the inspired Apostle, 1 Jno3
ii. 23, "Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father; [but] he that
acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also." If he that acknowledgeth that "Jesus is the
Christ," acknowledgeth the Father: equally so, he that acknowledges the mediatorial
dominion of the Son, acknowledgeth therein the dominion of Jehovah. 2. The subjection
of Israel to the government of God, was to him in the mediatorial person and character;
for the relation in which he stood to them was a gracious covenant relation-a relation
which God absolutely considered cannot sustain to any of the guilty race of Adam, either
individually or nationally. "Hear, Israel, the Lord thy God is one Lord."
Q. Is it the duty of nations to render national subjection to Jehovah, by their national
recognition of Christ's mediatorial dominion over them, as "Prince of the kings of the
Q. Which is the first proof of this?
A. The example of the commonwealth of Israel. As it has just been stated, it was the true
God in the person of the Messiah, whom they acknowledged, as is plain- 1. From his
frequent appearances in human form to the patriarchs, Abraham, etc, the progenitors of
the nation in covenant with him. 2. Christ was the angel sent before them to guide them
from the bondage' of Egypt, as the uncreated "angel of the covenant" who had the power
to "pardon transgression," and "in whom" was the name "Jehovah." Exod. xxiii. 20. 3.
From the vision which the elders enjoyed upon Mount Sinai, Exod. xxiv. 10, "And they
saw the God of Israel; and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of sapphire-
stone, as it were the body of heaven in his brightness;" evidently a vision of the Mediator.
4. In the appearance of an armed warrior he led them to victory over the Canaanites.
Joshua v. 13. 5. It was by covenant they submitted to him at Sinai, "All that the Lord hath
said will we do," which is not made with God in his essential character. 6. It was Christ
whom they tempted in the wilderness. 1 . Cor. x. 9, "Neither let us tempt Christ, as some
of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents." 7. Now, as the Israelites had a
civil government, a national territory and property, and civil relations and rights, all these
were completely subjected to the government of the Son of God, in his character of
Q. Is there any intimation in the whole volume of inspiration, that other nations should
not copy after the example set them in Judea; or that the honours claimed by the Messiah
and conceded to him, were peculiar to that territory, and that he doth not demand them in
other quarters of the world ?
A. There is no such intimation in the Scriptures, but their uniform teachings in this matter
enforce the example ; and all the passages already quoted in proof of his mediatorial
dominion over the nations, imply the obligation of nations to acknowledge his authority
by a formal national act of recognition.
Q. Were not the Jews under a peculiar Theocracy, and so, not all example in this respect?
A. We hold, with a modern writer, "that the Jews were, indeed, under a Theocracy ; but
so also are all baptized nations. They are as truly taught of God, and as firmly bound to
serve him, as the Jews ever were. They have, at least, as great advantages for knowing,
his will, and for doing it, as the Jews ever had ; and it is difficult even to imagine how
Christianity could ever relax the obedience of nations, or remove farther away from them
the eye and the hand of Providence, which so intimately superintended the affairs of the
Jews. "Is he the God of the Jews only, anti not of the Gentiles? Yea, of the Gentiles also,"
who have a greater abundance of his oracles and law, than the Jews, before the coming of
Christ, ever enjoyed."
Q. But was there not something in the manner in which that government was managed,
altogether unlike that which obtains in other nations ?
A. The same author solves this query. "Besides, it must not be overlooked, that God's
government of the Jewish nation was carried on by the usual and visible instrumentality
of human government. All the orders of men were employed, as agents, in his
government of the people, which have ever been employed in any civilized and well
ordered state. There was among them a written statute-book of primary essential law.
There were successions of supreme rulers. There were judges, priests, ministers of
religion, prophets, teachers of the law, schools, places of worship' etc. God never was
their king in the sense of appearing in person, sitting on a throne in the midst of them, and
dispensing with the usual agents and instruments. So far was this from being the case,
that all the while God was their king, the people had complete forms of government, in
which they took part, and which they could and did change at their pleasure. At one time
they were ruled by a military chief, as Joshua; at another, by judges ; at another, by a
pontificate, as Samuel; again, by an elective monarchy, as under Saul ; And afterwards,
by a hereditary monarchy from David down to the time of the captivity in Babylon &c.
But whatever form the supreme magistracy assumed, the law by which it was to he
guided was always the same."
Q. Had not these rulers extraordinary helps of such sort, .and to such an extent, as to
render the whole administration God's and not man's?
A. "it may be objected, that the Jews had the Shechinah, the oracle, prophets, &c, to
consult, which no other nation ever had, or can again expect. It is answered that Christian
nations have the real Shechinah, the true Urim and Thummim-the whole Word of God or
of Christ, speaking most clearly, whenever he is consulted' on every matter which it
really concerns an individual or a nation to know. They have in one book, of easiest
access, all the oracles, all the writings of their prophets; all the divine hymns, and all the
wisdom of God, which the Jews ever had. They have them as near at hand, spoken in as
plain a language, accompanied with as much solemn and impressive grandeur, verified by
as many instances of performance, and assigning as clearly the reasons for the
providential acts of the same God. In fine, what did the Jews of old know of God and of
his government, that we, under the full light of the gospel, have not the means o/knowing
greatly better than they they?
Q. Can you give any direct proof from Scripture of the duty of nations to submit to the
Lord Jesus Christ as their king ?
A. Yes, abundant. I adduce the first proof Dan. vii. 13,14, " And there was given him (the
Son of man) dominion, glory, and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him." What stronger proof can be demanded of national subjection to
Christ? All nations are his subjects, and if the subject is bound to submit to his lawful
king, all nations are bound to acknowledge Christ as their king, and to "serve " and obey
him). They must recognise his authority and engage themselves in his service.
Q. Is there any command issued to the constituted authorities of the nations to render this
A. Yes. Ps. ii. 10-12, "Be wise now therefore, O ye kings; be instructed, ye judges of the
earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Sun lest he be angry,
and ye perish from the way when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that
put their trust in him." 1. The kiss here demanded is expressive of civil homage. I Sam. x.
1, "And Samuel kissed Saul and said, Is it not because the Lord has anointed thee to be
Captain over his inheritance? " 2. It is addressed to the constituted authorities of the
nations-kings and judges-the whole national organization. 3. It is plain, therefore, that
from the king, or chief ruler, down through all the departments of state, together with the
whole national assemblage, there is to be an acknowledgment of the Son of God upon his
mediatorial throne. He is to be kissed in token of subjection, and served as the Lord of all.
Q. Is there any promise that this homage shall be rendered the Lord Jesus Christ ?
A. Yes; There is a direct promise to this effect. Ps. lxxii. 8-11, " He shall have dominion
from sea to sea-yea, all kings shall bow down before hint, all nations shall serve
him." None worthy of respect will dispute the application of this Psalm to Christ.
Although David refers to Solomon in this Psalm, yet he has in view a greater than
Solomon. When David intended to build a house unto the Lord, and was forbidden, God
promised that a Son should be born to him who should build the house, and gave him the
promise, I Chr. xxii. 10, "I will be his father," which Paul applies to Christ, Heb. i. 6.
With such authority we are in no danger of misinterpretation, in applying the text to the
subjection of kings and of all nations to the dominion of Messiah, and the duty nationally
to acknowledge his authority over them. ALL KINGS SHALL DOW DOWN BEFORE
HIM, ALL NATIONS SHALL SERVE HIM.
Q. Are not the nations threatened with destruction if they do not render this national
A. Yes. Ps, ix. 17, "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget
God." Men are contemplated in this passage individually, and in their associated
capacity, as moral persons compacted by civil bonds, or organized national bodies; God
is to be remembered by man both in his individual and national capacity. To remember
God is plainly to recognise his being and authority, and to be obedient to his will. To
forget God is not to recognise his being and authority, and to refuse obedience to his will.
Every wicked individual that does so shall be literally turned into hell. Every nation that
does so shall meet the like most terrible retribution-shall be cut off from the living and
covered in the grave.
Q. Is not Ps. ii. 12, "Kiss the Son lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way when his
wrath is kindled but a little," another fearful threatening?
A. Yes. This passage, we have seen, is addressed to kings and judges, as they wear their
crowns, and are invested with the ermine. If they refuse the kiss of civil homage (as it.
means) they provoke the wrath of the Lamb, and perish under his iron rod. Hence the
Roman Emperors and chief officers of state are represented as calling in terror to the
rocks and mountains, "fall on us and hide us from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great
day of his wrath is come." Rev. vi. 16.
Q. Can you produce any other threatening?
A. Yes. It is also declared in the 110th Psalm, "The Lord at the right hand shall strike
through kings in the day of his Wrath." They "withstand" him, they resist his authority,
they refuse submission, therefore "he fills the places wiih dead bodies, and wounds the
head over many countries."
Q. Is there a passage which strengthens this argument?
A. Yes. This argument is greatly strengthened by a portion of the 76th Psalm, v. 11, 12,
"Vow and pray unto the Lord your God: let all that be round about him bring presents
unto him that ought to be feared he shall cut off the spirit of princes: e is terrible to the
kings of the earth" According to Henry, vowing, here, respects taking an oath of
allegiance to the King of kings. Bind your souls with a vow to him, as subjects to their
sovereign, he will be feared by those who think it their sole prerogative to be feared. He
shall cut off the spirit of princes; he shall slip it off as easily as we slip off a flower from
the stock or a bunch of grapes from the vine, for he is terrible to to the kings of the earth,
and sooner or later, if they be not so wise as to submit themselves to him, he will force
them to call in vain to the rocks and mountains, "Full on us and hide us from the wrath of
Q. Is not Christ's sentence for the rejection of his authority awful?
A. Yes. Let nations tremble at the terrible sentence of Jesus Christ. Luke xix. 27, "But
those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither and slay
them before me."
Q. Does not the apocalyptic declaration - Rev. xi. 15, "The kingdoms of this world are
become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ,"-import this natural subjection to
A. Yes. It teaches that existing kingdoms, so far from being God's ordinances, are merely
worldly kingdoms. They have their origin and all their regulations from men, corrupt
men either rulers or mass of the people, as they are influenced by the devil, the god of
this world. They are not such governments as meet the approbation of the Lord and his
Christ, whose kingdom we have seen is not of this world, has not its origin from man, but
from heaven. But throwing off their allegiance to the devil, and subjecting themselves to
Christ, and taking the law at his mouth, and ruling for his glory and the good of the
church, and felicity of man, they cast off their worldly character, and are clothed
with the beauty and glory of the kingdom of heaven. Now they are the devil's kingdoms,
and "at war with the Lamb," but by a national acknowledgment of the mediatorial
authority of Christ, they become happily transformed into his millennial kingdoms.
Q. Is not the duty of national subjection to Messiah as king taught in Dan. vii. 18 and 27,
"The Saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever-
and the kingdom and dominion, and greatness of the kingdom, under the whole heaven,
shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High?"
A. Yes, very distinctly. 1 . They imply that a great revolution takes the in the kingdoms of
the world, (such as described in the preceding answer) in the subversion of those beastly
powers exhibited in this chapter, upon which all dominions, all national associations, by a
voluntary subjection, serve and obey him. What shall in future be, with divine
approbation, ought now to be-all nations should Now serve and obey the Mediatorial
Q. Is not Rev. xxi. 24-26- "And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the
light of it; and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it-and they shall
all bring the glory and honour of the nations into it."- a further proof of the duty of
national subjection to the Lord Jesus Christ, as prince of the kings of the earth?
A. Yes. "This passage must be understood as describing a course of preparation that
takes place on earth, as it is only in this world that national and official distinctions exist.
Now, if nations, as such, are to walk in the light of the New Jerusalem; that is to say, are
to derive distinguished honour and privileges from the church of Christ, they must fairly
be regarded as under the dominion of the church 's head! And, if kings, as such, are to
bring their glory into it; that is to say, are to subordinate their authority, power, revenues,
and whole administration to the interests of Christ's kingdom, we are not only taught that
the kings themselves are under the dominion of the Messiah-but in this account of their
duty land privilege; we have a beautiful illustration of national subjection to his
Q. Do not the titles given to Christ demonstrate the duty of national subjection to the
authority of the Messiah?
A. They amount to a perfect demonstration. The titles, for example "king of kings "-
"prince of the kings of the earth "- "Governor among the nations, " &c, show clearly that
kings and nations are the subjects of Christ; and, as subjects owe subjection to the lawful
authority over them; so, in like manner- nations owe national subjection to the Lord Jesus
Christ-who, by the act of the Father, is constituted their Mediatorial King. The titles are
significant of his authority over the nations, and of their reciprocal allegiance to him as
their lawful governor.
Q. Does not this claim of Christ-the national acknowledgment of his authority-enter as a
chief principle among the causes of the present conflict between the Lord Jesus Christ,
and the nations?
A. Yes. The Lord Jesus Christ proclaims His authority as governor of the nations, and the
duty of submission to himself on their part; his witnesses testify to the truth, and urge a
national acknowledgment of his authority as King of kings. The nations refuse, saying,
"We will not have this man to reign over us," they revolt more and more, goaded on in
their mad career by the Dragon, and his subordinates, until the day of vengeance cometh,
when the wrath of the Lamb being kindled, burneth like an oven, consuming the
rebellious hosts. Is. xlv. 23. "I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth
in righteousness and shall not return; that unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue
shall swear." Applied to Christ, Rev. xiv. 10, 11, and Phil. ii. 9-11; Zeph. iii. 8, 9.
"Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey ; for
my determination is to gather the nations that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon
them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger; for all the earth shall be devoured by the
fire of my jealousy-for then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may call
upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent."
Q. Is not this claim of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the homage of the nations in their national
character, a reasonable claim?
A. It is a most reasonable claim-for it seems it self-evident principle, that, as civil
government is the ordinance of God, his authority should be recognised. That, as the
Lamb is the king of kings, and has the power of civil rule delegated to him, that he should
be acknowledged in the exercise of his delegated authority as the vicegerent of Jehovah.
Q. Does not the great majority of professed Christians revolt against this claim of the
Messiah-as urged upon them as a peculiar principle of the Reformed Presbyterian
Church-and the grand doctrine of their testimony?
A. Yes. They cherish a squeamish sentimentality in relation to civil matters. They
shudder, with the infidel, at the thought of religion having any thing to do with politics -
that the name of Christ should, in any view, be associated with the kingdoms of this
world. Yet, they will plead his imagined sanction for their own connexion with these
kingdoms, and the support which they give to their immoralities and grinding oppression.
The very ministers, who shrink with a superstitious sensitiveness from the writings of
those noble witnesses, who have weighed immoral governments in the balances of the
sanctuary, and have pronounced them wanting - will be found at the polls voting for the
elevation of the "man stealer!" But, to plead the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ as king
of kings and to urge the application of his law to civil society-they absolutely refuse
whilst they strenuously defend existing civil establishments, and, in so doing, betray the
cause of their Lord and Master.
On the Word, or Revealed will of God, the Supreme Law in the State
Q. Upon the supposition that God had a right, from all eternity, to resolve upon creating a
world (which cannot be doubted), had he not an equal right to impose such laws upon it
as his own glory and its welfare required?
A. Yes. The creator has a natural inalienable right to impose such laws upon the work of
his hands as may in his wisdom seem good; and this proposition is so self-evident, that it
requires no argument to prove it.
Q. Are not mankind, through their ignorance, and the blindness of their minds, and the
depravity of their hearts, greatly lost to the sense of the theory of moral duty, and the
source of rational obedience?
A. Yes. Especially in the reasonings of self-styled philosophers upon the institution of
civil government, they seem to forget that there is a God, who claims to be the Governor
among the nations.
Q. However confused the ideas of mankind may be upon this subject, in point of
application to the important interests of morality, does it not appear among their most
common notions, that there both is, and ought to be such a thing as Law?
A. Yes. We know of no nations, however savage, that subsist in society, without some
sort of laws or regulations by which their mutual intercourse is limited and directed.
Q. Is not the idea of law most likely to be found in the original constitution of rational
nature? And is it not here we ought to fix as its most probable locality, the first principle
of that social intercourse which so generally draws the different tribes of the human race
into their distinct national associations, which we see spread over the whole earth?
A. Yes. The sense of law, or right and wrong, seems to have been impressed upon the
original constitution man's moral nature; otherwise we could not easily conceive how
beings of such a texture, and possessing such a versatility of character, as we find obtains
in our own common family, could be brought so easily and universally to deliver
themselves up to the restraints of civil authority, without some such principle implanted
originally in their hearts.
Q. Do not all laws and regulations among men require some rule by which they ought to
A. Yes. All the laws that ever were, or will be made, are mere "ropes of sand," unless
they possess a certain portion of His authority, who is our Lawgiver and King ; and
until men resort to this way of making laws, these fabrics of human order will not long
brave the mouldering teeth of time.
Q. Had a little more attention been paid to this principle, would the history of ancient and
modern times have worn such a face of blood as it does at this day?
A. No. We should not have seen the miserable race of man outraged without end and
without measure, mingling their tears with the dust, under the iron heel of civil oppres-
sors, while there is few or none to comfort the oppressed.
Q. Is it not highly probable God has given up, in just judgment, this earth, to groan under
the complicated miseries arising from tyranny find oppression, bloodshed and famine, on
account of the contempt shown to his legislative character ?
A. There can be little doubt of the truth of this statement: nor can we have tiny reason to
believe that the disease will be removed until its causes cease.
Q. What will be the consequences to the nations of the earth of the practical restoration of
this right to God, as the Supreme Lawgiver?
A. It will serve as an immovable mound to keep off the encroachments which pride,
ambition, and avarice have almost generally made upon all the securities of civil liberty,
which, in the depth of their wisdom, nations have been able to contrive; an infallible
guardian to the rights of man is in vain sought for in the wise maxims of philosophers and
patriotic statesmen; in vain do nations attempt to purchase liberty with the best blood of
their citizens, while they deliver it. into the keeping of men unacquainted with, or
regardless Of the supreme legislative authority of God, under which his friends may sit
securely and none to make them afraid.
Q. Although the remembrance of God's legislative authority may for it time become
feeble, can it entirely be obliterated from the heart of man ?
A. Infidelity and impiety are often forced to relinquish their strongholds, and openly
confess that the darkened prisons of human wretchedness never can expect to be visited
with a general jubilee, unless God condescends to avenge the quarrel of humanity, and let
the prisoners shake off their chains; sceptical philosophers, who have been obliged to
invent an atheistical language to serve the interests of their pride and vanity, have,
undesignedly, been obliged to recognise God's legislative character.
Q. Can you give an illustration?
A. Yes. Philosophers, even of the infidel school, are obliged to introduce the notion of
laws for the government of the physical world-as they account for the phenomena in the
visible kingdom of creation by the name of laws of nature.
Q. What is the import of the term nature in such a connexion ?
A. It can mean nothing more than that order of causes and effects, which the only wise
God at first established, and which he continually upholds.
Q. What are the laws of nature, so termed in reference to the physical world?
A. They are nothing else than the will of God, taking continued effect upon the different
parts of his extended empire: and whether they are called by specific names, such as
attraction, gravitation, &c, they are but the effects of the divine will governing the
movements of the material creation which his hand hath formed. Hence when infidel
philosophers speak of the laws of nature, they are constrained to recognise the will of the
Supreme, upon the principle of Blackstone, that "law is a rule of action dictated by some
superior being;" the laws of nature being but the rules of action impressed by the Creator
upon the material creation.
Q. Now, if these philosophers are obliged to introduce laws for the government of the
physical world, is not this aid much more needed for the regulation of the moral system?
A. Yes. So much the more as the moral transcends in excellency the physical world.
Q. Does not the law of nature, therefore, assume a somewhat different aspect as applied
to rational man ?
A. Yes. It is not merely a rule impressed upon a material subject to regulate its
movements, but a system of moral precepts given for the regulation of the conduct of a
dependent rational agent.
Q. Had not God a right As a spirit infinite, &c, to display or give scope to the exercise of
his perfections, in such a manner as he saw to be conducive to his own glory ?
A. The right is indisputable. To deny man a similar right is judged to be insupportable
tyranny ; it cannot, therefore, be denied to God.
Q. has God chosen to exercise this right ?
A. Yes. Events have made it evident that he saw it every way worthy of his divine
majesty, to command a multitude of creatures into existence.
Q. His right to do so being admitted, as it must, does not his legislative authority follow
of course ?
A. So necessarily are these things connected, we cannot conceive the existence of
creation a moment without the continual operation of a system of laws, suitable to
regulate, each of its component parts, and guide all their motions into one central point.
Q. Is not the existence of these Wise regulations, rendering this world a comfortable
habitation for all its inhabitants, apparent everywhere we turn our eyes ?
A. Yes. he that would not believe the testimony of day and night, summer and winter,
seed time and harvest, would not believe though one rose from the dead.
Q. Is not the denial of God's right of legislating for his creatures, to assert-that he never
had a right to act at all ?
A. Yes. For if once his right to create be granted, it will evidently follow that he behoved
to govern the creatures made, conformable to some end, or else declare by him care-
lessness about them, that he made them in sport, and its a trial of his skill, and for no
good, wise, or holy purpose. To assert this would be the most horrid blasphemy.
Q. Has not God given Abundant testimony of his own moral nature and rectoral
character, in the constitution of man's rational nature?
A. Yes. This is clear from the moral perceptive capacities with which man is endowed ;
for its well may we believe that the ey6 in animal nature, and the light in the heavens,
have met and held sweet society together for thousands of years, by chance, As believe a
moral capacity in man without moral objects, with which it is designed to converse.
Q. Is not this moral capacity, a distinguishing property of man's nature?
A. Yes. It is a property which distinguishes him from all the inferior ranks of being, and
he is hereby enabled clearly to discover his relation to the Supreme Being, and that the
Lord hath required of him, that he should do justice, love, mercy, and walk humbly with
Q. Is this power in men a subject of government ?
1 1, It is: Because, 1. Like all other powers of a derived nature, it must be governed-unless
we adopt the absurdity, that it neither needs, deserves, nor admits of such a rule. 2. The
more of spiritual and intellectual essence, any creature possesses, it is the more
susceptible of government; and, accordingly, as dependent beings rise in the scale of
excellency, legislative authority takes the firmer hold of their natures and operations. No
man, in his reason, will say that moral nature, capable of such extensive employment
among God's works, needs not a government sufficient to confine it within proper
boundaries. 3. The abuse of moral power has kindled the fires of hell, and still keeps
them burning. 4. Its proper application has embellished heaven with its most transparent
lamps. 5. In proportion as morality prevails on earth, it blossoms like the rose, and sends
forth a scent like Lebanon. In proportion as it withers, this earth becomes desolate and
bare, and puts on the attire of a mourner -such a power certainly demands government. 6.
When it is considered, that a moral capacity in human nature forms one of its principal
ornaments, and is that wherein it makes the nearest approach to God, and on which he has
expended much cost and pains since the world began, we cannot think it unreasonable
that it should be a primary object of Divine legislative authority.
Q. May God's legislative character be argued from his ends in creation ?
A. Most certainly. Whatever could move God to create, must move him to govern. It is
manifest that creatures cannot exist a moment independently of their Creator, and conse-
quently cannot move on to their point of final destination without constant direction. It
must, therefore, follow, 1. That either God had no end in view in forming the beautiful
fabric of nature; or, 2. That he has dropped the end if he ever had one; or, 3. That he has
missed the end, and given over any farther prosecution of it; or, finally, that he had an
end, that he has signified the same to his dependents, and will most certainly
see to its accomplishment. It will be no difficulty with any pious mind, which of these
suppositions ought to be adopted.
Q. Does a consideration of the existence of civil society and practice of civil government
among men, greatly strengthen the argument in favour of God's legislative character?
A. Very much, indeed. For, 1 . Experience shows, that the relation of civil society cannot
exist to any advantage, unless under the protecting shade of morality. 2. An immoral
society is a monster in nature; nor can anyone, completely such, ever exist, even among
the most barbarous nations on earth. 3. If murder, perjury, theft, and adultery, were
legitimated, society must speedily be dissolved. 4. Therefore all nations have found it
necessary to encircle themselves with criminal codes of laws, by which the lives,
property, and virtue of the community are preserved from destruction. 5. God, in his
providence, has so ordered it, that in proportion as the moral law has been incorporated
into the civil compact of any collective society, that society enjoys happiness on earth,
and progresses towards that which is better beyond it. 6. It is not to be concealed, that our
vicious nature often thinks otherwise, and acts upon principles agreeable to its corrupt
desires; but as certainly it follows, that such departures from the law of our natures, draw
after them national ruin, as has been verified in the history of all ages. The uniformity of
similar effects following similar causes, clearly evidences this to be the constitution of
heaven. 7. Those, therefore, who think or imagine they can perfect constitutions by
abridging the moral law's operation in civil society, are mistaken in one of those points
wherein it is of the highest moment to be rightly informed. 8. And if we admit moral
considerations at all to have a place in forming the bonds of human society, no doubt
then, the more influence, which are communicated thence, the-social compact will be so
much the stronger!. So that it does appear, from the impossibility of binding the human
race together by any cords but those of a moral nature, that God must have exercised his
legislative right, in preparing that code by which our family may harmonize in the bonds
of love, while sun and moon endure.
Q. Does not the conscience of man confirm this view of God's legislative authority?
A. Very forcibly. 1 . Whence arises the sense of blame with which men are so severely
lashed, notwithstanding all their pains to shield themselves therefrom, or cure the wounds
when received ? The instances of remorse on record, put it beyond a doubt that the heart
of man, by its constitution, is rendered susceptible of such impressions. 2. And however
speculative and immortal men may, in their closets and upon paper, have attempted to
reason themselves amid others into a belief, that there is no distinction between right and
wrong, yet we see they have made no great progress in bringing their proselytes to act up
uniformly to such a principle: for who, in his senses, has ever been known to commend
the murderer of a beloved father or child? Who ever beheld with delight a beloved wife
or daughter defiled before his eyes? 3. It seems, therefore, that however men may he
carried away by their imaginations into Utopian fields, when they descend and mingle in
real life they cease not to feel as other men do, at least in cases interesting to themselves,
and to act on, the same principles.
Q. Does not Revelation confirm this reasoning upon legislative authority?
A. Yes, its evidence is decisive. For, 1 . What is the whole Old Testament but a history of
the giving of laws, the breaches made upon them, and the consequent punishment? or else
of due obedience yielded thereunto, with the rewards annexed? And 2. The New
completes the Old by adding those sections which more immediately respect the methods
by which God's law has been honoured, and its credit preserved, together with the
functions which it continues to perform on the hearts of all who are redeemed from under
its curse, as also what its office will be to eternity in and over those who remain destitute
of a covering from its awful demands.
Q. God has not, therefore, created man independent of his authority, and sent him forth
among his works exempted from the dominion of law?
A. By no means. The above induction brings us necesarily to the conclusion, that man is a
dependent creature, he is dependent upon his Creator, and in the language of Blackstone,
"consequently as man depends absolutely upon his Maker for everything, it is necessary
that he should in all points conform to his Maker's will."
Q. What is this will of his Maker called?
A. It is called the law of nature. For as God, when he created matter, and endowed it with
a principle of mobility, established certain rules for the perpetual direction of its motions,
so when he created man, and endued him with freewill to conduct himself in all parts of
lift-, he laid down certain immutable laws of human nature.
Q. Is this law of human nature of superior obligation?
A. This law of nature, says the same civilian, " being coeval with mankind, and dictated
by God himself, is of superior obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in
all countries, and at all times; no human laws are of any validity if contrary to this; and
such of them as are valid derive all their force, and all their authority, mediately or
immediately from this original.
Q. Was this law tire basis of God's covenant with Adam ?
A. It was, and was the rule of Adam's behaviour towards God, and of his dominion -
which he exercised over this world before his apostasy.
Q. Has this law been abrogated by the apostasy of Adam?
A. By no means. Man's apostasy did not annul God's regal dominion over the rebel
creature, and the law inscribed upon man's nature in his creation, whilst it binds him
under its penalty, still holds him under the dominion of God ; and by it he is under an
indissoluble obligation to regulate his conduct in all the transactions of life.
Q. Has not the satisfaction of the law, by the obedience unto the death of Jesus Christ,
released man from its obligations?
A. By no means, because believers themselves are said to be under the law as a rule of
life. 1 Cor. ix. 21, "Being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ." 2. Christ
did not "destroy," but "fulfilled" the law.
Q. Is not civil magistracy, as the ordinance of Cod, founded in this law of nature I
A. Yes. Magistracy was first instituted in the human family when God gave Adam
dominion over Eve and all the works of his hand on earth, (Ps. viii. 6) of which this law
was the rule; and still abides the supreme rule of civil magistracy among the posterity of
Adam, through all ages of the world. Rom. i. 32, " Who knowing the judgment of God,
that they which do such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have
pleasure in them that do them." ii. 14, 15, " For the Gentiles which have not the law
(written) do by nature the things contained in the law, these having not the law are a law
unto themselves: which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience
also bearing witness, and their thoughts, the meanwhile, accusing, or else excusing, one
Q. Can there indeed exist any lawful civil power that has not its fountain and its law in
this will of the Supreme Lawgiver, the Creator of the heavens and the earth ?
A. No. Civil government, we have seen, as is it legitimate, is the moral ordinance of God,
and the Deity himself, alone, is the supreme source of civil power; and consequently the
government which he will recognise must be founded in this immutable law of human
Q. Is it not a first principle of this law, that God's authority be recognised by the
constituted civil society?
A. Yes. The rejection of his authority and his law has been the source of the "judicial
blindness" which God bas inflicted upon the nations. Rom. i. 28, "For even as they did
not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do
those things which are not convenient"
Q. Is this law fully discoverable by the reason of man from the light of nature ?
A. Some faint traces of this law remain upon the moral nature of man, (Rom. ii. 14, 15,)
and are revealed in some degree of legibility by the light of nature, (Rom. i. 20-32 ; Ps.
xix. \,) " so that men are without excuse ;" yet man's intellect has been so much
impaired and corrupted by the fall that he is not able fully to discover what the law of
nature directs in every circumstance of life, as every man finds in his own experience,
that his reason is corrupt, and his understanding is full of ignorance and error.
Q. Has this blindness of human reason given occasion to the benign interposition of the
Creator in giving a perfect transcript of this law, in a written revelation of his will?
A. Yes. God has been pleased at sundry times and divers manners to enforce his original
law, by an immediate and direct revelation. The doctrines thus delivered we call the
revealed or divine law.
Q. Where are they to be found?
A. They are to be found only in the Holy Scriptures; for until they were therein revealed
they were hid from the wisdom of the ages.
Q. Is this revealed law contained in the Holy Scriptures of the same obligation with the
original law of nature?
A. Undoubtedly; for as the moral precepts of this law are of the same origninal of this law
of nature, and are found , upon comparison, to be really a part of the original law of
nature, as they lead in all tliuir consequences to man's felicity, so their intrinsic
obligation is of equal strength and perpetuity.
Q. Is not this revealed will of God in the Scriptures of truth of even infinitely higher
authority than that moral system which is framed by ethical writers, and denominated the
A. Unquestionably. Because the one is the law of nature expressly declared so to be by
God himself. The other is only what, by the assistance of human reason, men imagine to
be that law. If we could be as certain of the latter, as we are of the former, both would
have an equal authority; but till then they are never to be put in any competition together.
Q. Do not all just human laws depend upon these two foundations-77ze Law of Nature and
the Law of Revelation?
A. Yes. No human laws should be suffered to contradict them: if they are contradictory to
these they have no validity, not" binding obligation upon the conscience.
Q. What is this revealed law usually called
A. The Moral Law.
Q. Wherein is this moral law summarily comprehended ?
A. It is comprehended in a summary manner in the TEN COMMANDMENTS.
Q. Is this moral law, thus summarily exhibited with all the revealed precepts based
thereon, placed in the hands of Jesus Christ the mediatorial King, to be administered by
him in the government of the nations?
A. Yes. The law is in the hands of the mediator, and under him the human family, in its
national as well as other relations, is commanded to be subject to the law of God. 1 Cor.
ix. 21, "Not without law to God, but under the law to Christ. "
Q. Does the Lord Jesus Christ, as the "Governor of the Nations," demand that their
constitution and laws be founded upon his laws, revealed in the Scriptures of truth ?
A. Yes. As the King of kings he bath in the Scriptures of truth promulgated his law, and
demands that all people, nations, and languages should serve him, by admitting to his
sceptre and "taking the law at his mouth."
Q. Does it appear from the fact already established - the endowment of the Mediator with
regal authority aver the nations-that it is the design of God to reduce the human race
under him to a condition of obedience and holiness, even upon the earth, nearly
resembling that which it would have enjoyed had Adam not revolted?
A.. Yes. The MILLENIUM will exemplify this happy state; and in order to reduce the
race to this blessed condition, the constitution and laws of civil governments must be
based upon the revealed law of Christ.
Q. Wherein is it evident that Christ claims this national recognition of, and subjection to,
his law, revealed in the Scriptures?
A. It is evident, 1 . In the fact that men, in their social relations, are under the same law
that they are under in their individual capacity.
Q. What is the second evidence?
A. The law under which each individual is placed is "the law" (1 Cor. ix. 21)-evidently
the moral law revealed in the Scriptures.
Q. What is the third evidence ?
A. As this law was the rule, as proved, of civil government, as lodged in the hands of the
first Adam, it remains the supreme rule in that relation still under the second Adam.
Q. What is the fourth evidence ?
A. The language of its curse contains this doctrine: "Cursed is every one that continueth
not in all things written in the book of the law to do them." To this the people collectively
were to say, Amen.
Q. What is the fifth argument?
A. The commission given to the New Testament Ministry embodies this doctrine, Matt,
xxviii. 19, 20, "Go ye therefore will teach all nations, to observe all things whatsoever
/ have commanded you ".
Q. What is the sixth evidence?
A. The character of civil government and its administration, described in the 13th of
Romans, as the ordinance of God, and the Minister of God to men for good, plainly
enforces the doctrine of national subjection to the law of God, because his law is the only
rule of moral good.
Q. What is the seventh evidence?
A. The example of the commonwealth of Israel demonstrates the doctrine, Exod. xxiv. 7,
"And Moses took the book of the covenant and read in the audience of the people
and they said, ALL THAT THE LORD HATH SAID WILL WE DO, AND BE
OBEDIENT". Alsov. 3.
Q. What is the eighth evidence ?
A. The king, of Israel, in their regal capacity, were to have a copy of the law, and to study
and apply it in the administration of the government. Deut. xvii. 18, 19, "And it shall be
when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law
in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: and it shall be with hin, and
he shall read therein all the days of his life; that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to
keep all the words of his law, and the statutes to do them." v. 20.
Q. What is the ninth proof ?
A. Those kings who obeyed are commended. 2 Chron. xxxv. 20. In the case of Josiah, for
"his goodness" according to what was written "in the law of the Lord." Whilst Rehoboam
is blamed (2 Chr. xii. 1) because "he forsook the law of the Lord."
Q. What is the tenth proof?
A. To possess this holy and divine law was considered the greatest blessing to the nation.
Ps. cxlvii. L9, 20, "He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto
Israel he hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments they have not known
Q. What is the eleventh evidence?
A. It was given to the people as a nation. Thus Joshua addressed the tribes, xxii. 5, "Take
diligent heed to do the commandment and the law."
Q. What is the twelfth proof?
A. National judgments are threatened for its violation, Is: v. 24, 25. "Therefore as the fire
devoureth the stubble and the flame constumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as
rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of
the Lord, and despised the word of the holy one of Israel."
Q. What is the thirteenth evidence?
A. The nation is reproved for its violation. Jer. ix. 13-15. "Because they have forsaken
my law which I set before them; therefore, I will feed them even this people with
wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink."
Q. What is the fourteenth proof ?
A. It is predicted that the nations in New Testament times shall be subject to this law. Is.
xlii. "The isles shall wait for his law." Jer. iv. 17 ; Is. ii. 2, 3. "In the last days-many
people shall go and say, come ye and let us go up to the mountains of the Lord, to the
house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his
paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem."
Q. Were these precepts, indeed, addressed not to individuals only, but to the nation as
A. Yes. Each precept is in the singular number, thou. This form of expression is used, not
merely to indicate that every individual who heard this law is bound to obedience, but
also every Christian nation as a body politic or moral person is addressed by the lawgiver,
and commanded to obey.
Q. Where is the evidence of this ?
A. The evidence is in the fact, that to the nation in its national capacity the decalogue is
emphatically directed-/ am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt,
and out of the house of bondage. Whom did he bring out of Egypt? The nation, and to it
he addressed the decalogue.
Q. Were not the Jews, in their true national organization, as the ordinance of God,
designed as an exemplar to all nations in subsequent times?
A. Yes. They wore in civil things, "a shadow;' as it were, "of good things to come." What
was transacted by them as a nation in covenant with God, is an example all nations by
whom the record of their deeds shall be read; especially in their covenant subjection and
obedience to the divine law.
Q. Wherein lies the evidence of this?
A. The evidence lies in the prediction in Psalm cii. 15-18, "So the heathen (nations) shall
fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth thy glory. This shall be written
for the generation to come; and the people that shall be created shall praise the Lord."
The Jewish nation " bowed the knee" to the God of Jacob, as his servants: and after their
example, "so" the organized national bodies, and kings, or supreme civil rulers,
officially, shall follow their example -shall fear and serve the name of the Lord-the
Messiah-?/ze glory of the Lord; shall do him homage as the King of kings, the Father's
glory or representative in the throne of the nations.
Q. When shall this take place?
A. It shall take place, according to the context, "When the Lord shall build up Zion"-
bring in the Jews with the fulness of the Gentiles. The Israelitish commonwealth
therefore, stands on the inspired page, an exemplar to all the nations of the world of a just
national organization; which shall be, in all its moral elements, strictly copied when the
prediction recorded in the Psalm shall be fulfilled! -v. 22. 'When the people are gathered
together, and the kingdoms, to serve the Lord." So shall they fear the name of 'the Lord -
by a national subjection to the law of the Lord, in the hands of the Mediator- "the prince
of the kings of the earth."
Q. Is not the decalogue divided into two tables ?
1 1 : Yes. The first contains four precepts, and second six. The former teaches our duty to
God-the latter our duty to man.
Q. Do the precepts of the first table express the rights of God, which he demands shall be
embodied in the civil constitutions of the nations, that their governments may be his
A. Yes. They contain " the things of God," which all nations are bound nationally to
Q. Can you give a simple exhibition of these rights or claims of God by the Mediator
upon the nations of the earth ?
A. Yes. 1. The first requires as an inalienable right of the Godhead, that every nation as
such, in its organic character, acknowledge the Lord to be its God. Exod. xx. 3. "Thou
shalt have no other Gods before thee." xxxiv. 14. " For thou shalt worship no other God,
for the Lord whose name is jealous, is a jealous God." Rom. iii. 29. Is he the God of the
Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles ? Yea, of the Gentiles also? 2. "The second
precept requires the nation to establish the true worship of God, and to put down, and
prevent idolatry or f also worship. Exod. xx. 4. "Thou shalt not make unto thee any
graven image, &c. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them," &c. Deut.
vii. 5. "Thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their
images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire." See an
example, by the king Hezekiah, 2 Kings xviii. 4-7. If idolatry and false worship is a moral
evil-a violation of the law-then the ruler must suppress it. Rom. xiii. 4. See also, 1 Cor. x.
19-21. 3. The third precept requires the nations to entertain an awful reverence of the
holy name of Jehovah, and sincerely to respect everything whereby he maketh himself
known. Ex. xx. 7. "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain ; for the
Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." Deut. xxviii. 58, 59. "If
thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou
mayest fear this glorious and fearful name-THE LORD THY God-then the Lord will
make thy plagues wonderful," &c. Mai. i. 1 1 . For from the rising of the sun, even unto
the going down of the same, my name shall be great among the gentiles (or nations)-and
in every place, incense shall be offered to my name, and a pure offering: for my name
shall be great among the heathen (nations), saith the Lord of hosts, See Rom. xv. 4 ; Jam.
v. 12; Zech. v. 3. 4. The fourth precept enforces the claims of God upon the nations to
observe the Christian Sabbath: to consecrate it as a day of national rest and devotion. Ex.
xx. 8. " Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy," etc. See also Jer. xvii. 20-22; Ex. xvi.
22, 23 ; Num. xv. 32, 33 ; Neh. xiii. 15 ; Mark ii. 27. Now, as God is as, jealous of his
DEITY today as of old-as his worship is as sacred-his name as holy-and his sabbath as
honourable-it is the duty still of all nations "from the rising of the sun to the setting of the
same," to recognise these his rights, and embody them in their national constitutions, find
defend and enforce them by their laws and administration.
Q. Is not the church the only agent now for the application and enforcing of this table of
A. No. The church is an agent in her sphere, but her influence extends over her members
only-but civil government is ordained of God as a grand co-operative agent with the
church in the application of the divine law to society, and its arm, in the spreading of
moral influence, reaches far beyond her boundaries, into the dark places of the land.
Besides, if the state is not "for the Lord," it will be "against him"-it cannot be indifferent,
and may paralyse the arm of the church even in the legitimate sphere and manner of her
action-as is exemplified abundantly, in our own land, in relation to all the rights of God.
Q. Does not the second table of the decalogue specifically commemorate the rights
common to all mankind, and guaranteed by God to all equally, and to be secured to them
in the constitutions of civil government?
A. Yes. The rights of men exist before the constitution of civil government- they exist in
the divine law; and civil government confers none of them; but is ordained of God to
secure and protect them as the boon of heaven, hence civil magistrates are the
administrators also of the precepts of the second table of the decalogue.
Q. Have you not already informed us that civil government is the ordinance of man? How
does this agree with your statement of the duty of national subjection to the law of God?
A. Whilst civil government is the ordinance of man in a certain view of it; it is, at the
same time, the ordinance of God (as we have seen in it former section), in its grand
fundmental moral principles, and these views are not inconsistent. Men are free as it
respects one another, and have a right to erect government over themselves, and no man s
a right to rule his fellows, without authority conveyed by the free suffrages of the
majority. But no number of people have a right to establish it government upon any other
foundation than the law of God. Civil government subordinately to the glory of God, is
designed of God, for the highest good of the whole, and must be so organized as that no
one will be deprived, unjustly, of his rights, which belong to him equally with the rest.
Q. Is not the law of God the fountain and rule of human rights ?
A. Yes. The rights of men are all derived from God, and the law of God defines them;
and the substance of that law, as it is the rule of human rights, is condensed in the golden
precept,- "As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. " This
places all men upon an equality, without respect of persons or complexions. If men
observe this rule, they enjoy an infallible security against oppression and wrong.
Q. Can you give a summary enumeration of the several rights which the second table of
the decalogue, defines and guarantees to mankind ?
A. Yes. Yes first precept of this table is designed to preserve subordination in society by
regulating the mutual duties of superiors and inferiors. 1. It maintains parental authority,
which is one of the main pillars of society; whilst it secures, on the other hand, the rights
of the child, who is to be honoured as a rational and immortal being, and not the abject
slave of a domestic tyrant. 2. It regulates the relation of master mid servant, secures
obedience to the former, and the " rendering of that which is just and equal" to the latter.
It does not elect the former into a lordly and irresponsible tyrant, with the scourge for his
sceptre, and to reduce the latter into the grovelling condition of the brutalized slave.
There is no such relation recognised by the law of God. The master is the head of the
family, and the servant is as the son, subordinate to the head of the domestic
establishment, amid the labourer is worthy of his hire. Jer. xxii. 13. "Woe unto him that
buildeth his house by uurighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that uses his
neighbour's service without wages, and giveth him not for his work." 3. It regulates the
relation of husband and wife, minister and flock, and secures their reciprocal rights, as
expounded elsewhere in the Scriptures. 4. Civil government, also, has its security under
the aegis of this precept. It guarantees obedience to legitimate rulers administering the
ordinance of God; and secures the rights of the subject, as those of the son. It presents the
civil ruler as a benignant parent, and all the people surrounding him as his beloved
children, whom he nourishes and cherishes as a father his son. 5. In one word, the second
table guarantees to all equally the preservation of life, chastity, property, reputation, and
is designed even to suppress the lustings of the depraved heart after that which is the
possession of another. 6. It is true that civil government cannot reach the heart. It
regulates the life. Yet it is ordained of God not only to punish overt acts in violation of
any of the precepts, but to prevent crime by precautionary regulations, and a parental
surveillance. As an illustration-it is the duty of civil government, for the preservation of
chastity, secured by the 7th commandment to suppress the houses of temptation, and to
protect society against the wiles and obscenity of "the strange women, whose house is the
way to hell;" and on the other hand to protect woman from the lust of licentious and
debased men, who prowl around the loveliest, that they may seize them as their prey. 7.
Thus with regard to every other precept of the decalogue, civil government is its
guardian, and is bound to apply it equally to all the subject-, of its sceptre, not only to
punish the transgressor, but to enforce its observance by such regulations as will bring the
precept to bear upon the minds and consciences and lives of all under its jurisdiction.
Q. Is not civil government bound, as it is God's ordinance, to execute the penal statute,
enacted its sanctions and enforcements of the precepts of the decalogue?
A. This seems to be a necessary deduction from the principles established. Because, 1.
Those particular judgements which were enacted for the defence and enforcement of the
moral laws are, from the nature of the case, of perpetual obligation, for the penal sanction
of a law is a part of the law itself. Take away the sanction, and the law is annulled. 2.
They were the punishments decreed of God for crimes committed in violation of his own
law, and he knows best what punishment is due to its transgression. 3. The moral law is
of universal and perpetual obligation, its penal sanctions must carry with them a
tantamount obligation. 4. They were enacted for the defence of the authority of the
decalogue, which is ever to be defended-the defence should perpetually surround the law:
5. The nature of crime is invariably the same, no lapse of time destroys its punishable
character; hence, like crimes in every age deserve like punishment, as they attack the
authority of God the Lawgiver, and subvert the good order, purity; and peace of society
with equal malignancy. 6. The judicial judgment-, to which reference is had, were those
which were appended to precepts of the first and second table ; were reducible to these;
were, in fact, the application of these to civil society, by the same awful authority which
promulgated the decalogue. He who said, "thou shalt not kill," said also, " The murderer
shall certainly be put to death." He who said, "Thou shalt not commit adultery," said also,
"The adulterer and adulteress shall SURELY be put to death." He who said, "Thou shalt
not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain," said also, "He that blasphemeth the name
of the Lord shall surely be put to death." 7. Paul i. Tim, i. 8-10, which see, powerfully
enforces this argument. It is evidently the penal law to which the apostle refers, because
elsewhere he affirms that believers - the same with the righteous - are under the law to
Christ. The righteous man is not liable to the judgment of the penal law, but the
transgressor of the moral law is exposed to its sanctions. The law, as it is preceptive, is a
rule of life to the righteous, and he delights in it after the inner man. The penal law
applies only to the wicked, "murderers," &c. The sanctions of the law, then, are of equal
obligation with the law itself. 8. Other judicial enactments are recognised by Paul as yet
binding in their principle as a moral rule. I Cor. ix. 0, 10, " For it is written in the law of
Moses. Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God
take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for OUR SAKES, NO DOUBT, THIS IS
WRITTEN. That he that plougheth should plough in hope ; and that he that thrasheth in
hope, should be partaker of his hope."
Q. Is it not at least strange, that men favoured with a pure copy of the divine law, in the
volume of revelation, should reject this fountain of light, and go back to the indistinct
"dictates of conscience " to regulate any part of human conduct?
A. Yes. It is more than strange, it is extremely stupid and utterly inconsistent with
Christianity ; especially when God declares that it is "To the law and to the testimony we
must bring all actions and all relations. If they speak not according to these it is because
there is no light in them." Is. viii. 20. The truth is, that revelation is given to men to
supply the imperfections of the law of nature ; and to restrict ourselves to the latter, and
to renounce the former, in any case in which it is competent to guide us, is at, once to
condemn God's gift and to defeat the end for which it was given; and is as absurd as it
would be to require men, when the sun is in the heavens, to shut out its full blaze, and go
about their ordinary business by the feeble rays of a taper.
Q. Must not those who adopt anti-government principles and reject civil government as
an institution necessary and beneficial to mankind, when rightly constituted, become
atheists, and reject not only the authority, but also the being of a God?
A. This seems to be a necessary result of such principles because as man is a rational
creature he is necessarily subject to his Creator, who has promulgated his law and insti-
tuted civil magistracy as his ordinance, and the civil ruler as his minister, for the
application of this in the government of the moral subject.
Q. Is not the authority of God, therefore, and his law paramount to all other authority,
even that of "We the people, " in the government of man in his civil relations?
A. Yes. Man has no natural inherent rights of his own. All his are derived from God, are,
of course, subject to his law, and are to be defined and regulated by it. A right in
opposition to his own, God does not, cannot give; nor is it competent to any power to
impart and sanction such a right. The sentiments of Blackstone should, therefore, be
deemed axioms, and recorded in letters of gold in the halls of legislation. "Upon these
two' foundations, THE LAW OF NATURE AND THE LAW OF REVELATION,
DEPEND ALL HUMAN LAWS. THAT IS TO SAY, NO HUMAN LAWS SHOULD
BE SUFFERED TO CONTRADICT THESE.
Q. What, according to this law, are some of the qualifications of civil rulers authorized to
administer civil government as the ordinance of God?
A. The law of God, revealed in the scriptures of Truth, requires that those who rule
should possess much a moral character as will fully entitle them to the designation of
MINISTERS OF GOD. They should, therefore, possess the following qualifications:
1. They should be Wise, able, understanding men, not children, weak, ignorant, or fools.
Ex. xviii. 21: "Moreover, thou shalt provide of all the people able men." Deut. i. 13:
"Take you wise and understanding men, and I will make them rulers." Ezra vii. 25: "Set
magistrates and judges that may judge the people, such as know the laws of thy God. " 2.
They should be men of distinction, well known in the community. Deut. i. 13-18: "And
known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you. So I took the chief of
your tribes, wise men and known, and made them heads over you." 2 Chr. xix. 3. Just
men, men of truth, fearing God and hating covetousness. 2 Sam. xxiii. 2, 3: "The spirit of
the Lord spake by me, and his word was on my tongue. The Lord God of Israel said, the
Rock of Israel spoke to me: HE THAT RULETH OVER MEN MUST BE FAST
RULING IN THE FEAR OF THE LORD." Exod. xvm. 21: "Men of truth, fearing God,
hating covetousness." Is there a government on earth that can be recognised by the
Christian as the ordinance of God, and to which he can be obedient for conscience sake,
and in consistency with his allegiance to Jesus Christ- the prince of the kings of the earth?
A. There is not. Since the captivity of Judah, about 558 years before the Christian Era,
until the present day, scarcely an instance has occurred in the whole history of nations, of
a kingdom or commonwealth regulating their polity upon purely scriptural principles.
Many nations, it is true, have pretended to be Christian; and religion has been scandalized
by their unholy interference. Many Christians have also have deceived and misled into a
belief, that the kingdoms of the nations were so constituted as to merit their conscientious
acquiescence and pious support. But the prince of the kings, if time earth, who gave the
revelation to his servant John, teaches us, that now (under the seventh trumpet, Rev. xi.
15, yet future), for the first time, the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of
God and of Christ. Heretofore they have been thrones of iniquity, having no fellowship
with God. (Psalm, xciv. 20), characterized as beasts and horns of beasts, both by Daniel
and the writer of the Apocalypse. Servants and admirers and apologists and eulogists they
have had in abundance; but there was not a voice in heaven raised in their commendation.
They were to be feared but not approved by the servants of the Most High.
Q. Will not the condition of the nations, when they become voluntarily subject to Christ
and his law, be most prosperous and happy?
A. Yes. The prosperity and felicity of Ancient Israel, when the law given that
commonwealth was faithfully observed, will be the blessed inheritance of the nations
when obedient to Christ. Deut. iv. 6-9 :" Keep, therefore, and do them; for this is your
wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these
statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what
nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all
things that we call upon him for ? And what nation is there so great that hath statutes and
judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? Only take heed to
thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have
seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons,
and thy sons' sons."
The Duty of Nations, in their National Capacity, to acknowledge and
support the True Religion.
Q. Is civil magistracy, as the ordinance of Cod, conversant only about the transient and
paltry affairs of merely animal gratification ?
A. Such a view, though common, is utterly incompatible with the origin and design of the
institution, which has descended from the throne of God, for the express purpose of
preserving moral order among men.
Q. Is there any institution given to God to men, so happily adapted to preserve moral
order among mankind as the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ ?
A. There is none-for its very nature is to promote " peace on earth, and good will towards
Q. Are the two great institutions-civil government and the Christian religion, or church
and state, hostile to, and in their nature and action calculated to frustrate each other, in the
benign influence which they may respectively exert upon the human race?
A. No. They are friendly powers under the same moral regimen -the law of God, and
designed in their respective spheres and by the means peculiar to each, to advance the
same objects, the glory of God on earth, and the best interests of mankind.
Q. Are they distinct powers ?
A. Yes. They are distinct powers, and independent one of the other as will appear in its
place, and each has its distinctive and particular sphere of action.
Q. Is it not the custom of independent civil powers to form treaties of alliance, offensive
and defensive, against a common enemy and for mutual benefit?
A. Yes. It is a common practice, and generally, if the principles of the treaty are just,
tends greatly to the pence, security, and mutual interests of the contracting parties.
Q, have not church and state their common enemy ?
A. Yes. Sin is their common enemy, presenting itself in the specific forms of ignorance,
immorality, and irreligion. "Righteousness exalteth a nation, sin is a reproach to any
Q. May not church and state form, and is it not their duly to do so, such friendly alliance
for the promotion of intelligence, morality, and religion, and the suppression of the
baneful influence of their common enemy ?
A. Certainly. As they have a common enemy, and (as stated) a common object, they
ought to form such friendly alliance, that they may have a mutual understanding of their
legitimate and distinctive spheres of action ; and co-operate, encourage, and mutually
strengthen each other in the advancement of the common good.
Q. Should the true church of Christ, "The bride, the Lamb's wife' form such all alliance
with a heathen, antichristian or immoral state?
A. By no means. The same law applies to the church collectively which applies to the
individual members, not to be "unequally yoked with unbelievers" even as God's ordi-
nance of civil government in operation in Judea, was forbidden alliance with a heathen
and idolatrous civil power. Isa. viii. 12, "Say ye not-A confederacy-to all them to whom
this people may say-A confederacy." 2 Cor. vi. 15, "What concord hath Christ with
Q. May God's ordinance of civil government form an alliance with a corrupt, heathenish
A. By no means: any more than a Christian man should ally himself in marriage with a
polluted harlot, impenitent, and unreformed.
Q. Has not the church in past ages received detriment and does she not in some nations at
the present time sustain injury by being thus unequally yoked with immoral anti-Christian
A. Yes. She has been and is still greatly injured, and from the very nature of society, she
must sillier in such connexion, until both learning and power are transferred into the
hands of godly men, and so made Subservient to piety. Independently of the impressive
lessons of long and painful experience upon this Subject, it is quite reasonable to expect
that if unsanctified men incorporate revealed religion with civil government, such a form
will certainly be given to religion as may suit unsanctified power. The daughter of Zion is
much better without such an alliance, for it is the very essence of anti-christianism. The
Bride, the Lamb's wife, Cannot he supposed to escape pollution, if taken into the em-
braces of unholy men, and rendered dependent upon a government which they
administer. It is safer for the friends of religion to continue like the witnesses
prophesying in sackcloth, faithfully struggling in poverty against the frowns of power,
than to become the stipendiaries of irreligious statesmen.
Q. As you do not approve of every kind of union church and state, and as no existing
union receives countenance, for what kind of union of these distinct independent powers
do we plead?
A. We plead only for a union between God's moral ordinance of civil government, duly
constituted as his minister to men for good, with pure Christianity, or the Bride, Lamb's
Q. As both of those institutions, church and state, from God, is it not a just inference, that
they are designed by Him to dwell together in harmonious union, and co-operation, for
the promotion of the good of mankind-like " two olive trees"-that through "the golden
pipes"; pour their oil into the common bowl?
A. It cannot be justly questioned. Because, if not allied as they exist in the same
community, they must frequently come into conflict with each other, and thus mar their
influence respectively: for if the state has no regard, in its administration, for religion, it
will desecrate its most sacred institutions, as is the case in this land with respect to the
Q. Is it not a dictate of nature (among those notices of God and our duty which we have
independently of revelation) that God is to be worshipped by man, not only in his
individual, but also in his social capacity?
A. Yes. Hence we find, even the most savage benighted tribes have their social, and even
national religious observances and festivals.
Q. Have we not the substance of sabbatic institutions taught us by the light, of nature?
A. Yes. Heathen nations have their stated times to public national homage to their gods.
Q. Must not these times of social and public assembling for religious worship be
appointed and regulated by national law?
A. Yes. Because upon no other principle could there be a general concurrence of the
community in the times of meeting, and the enjoyment of tranquillity and order when
assembled. Hence all nations have their times of meeting for religious purposes fixed by
a national decree.
Q. Is not the idea of a nation destitute of the religious sentiment shocking to our moral
A. Yes. Religious sentiment and practice is absolutely essential to national happiness, and
even its exististence-of the truth of which we have all awful illustration in the history of
revolutionary France : where the leaders of the dominent factions discarded the religious
sentiment, when iniquity in every monstrous form raised its head, and stalked through the
land; virtue and piety were crushed; amd the blooming plains of France were saturated,
and its rivers flowed with blood.
Q. Did not Greece and Rome bear decided testimony to the high importance of a national
faith, and incorporate with their constitutions laws respecting religion?
A. Yes. The heathen teach us. These nations so celebrated in history, yielded a national
allegiance to their gods, and aimed at the sanctification of their civil institutions and all
their national enterprises, by the approbation of their gods. The State was the guardian of
their religion and upon every victory they brought their national "votive offerings" to the
temples of their gods.
Q. Is there an object on the earth so sublime in its character and so worthy of national
care as the Christian church?
A. No. There is not among the ranks of created being one object worthy of comparison in
point of sublimity with the Christian church-"A moral empire consisting of members
animated by the Eternal Spirit, the Mediatory person, God manifest in the flesh, as its
head, the vast machinery of creation moving in regular subordination to its interests, and
exhibiting the ineffable glory of the Divinity, is an object to be contemplated with
admiration and awe."-" Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined."
Q. Is not the Headship of Christ over the nations a convincing argument in proof of the
duty of nations to maintain and cherish his religion?
A. There cannot be anything more conclusive. Christ's dominion over the nations, as over
all other things, is for the good of the church. "He is head over all things to the Church ;"
and certainly so important a part of his empire, as national society, is not exempted from
the duty of exerting its influence for the welfare of that church, for the special benefit of
which Christ is exalted " Lord of all. "As civil government is subjected to Him, it is with
the intent that, in its administration, it shall contribute to the welfare of Zion. And this is
done by a national embrace of his religion to the exclusion of all others, and an
engagement to its support.
Q. Have we not examples in the Old Testament scriptures, of this happy alliance between
church and state?
A. Yes, several. 1. The patriarchal system of government prevailed generally in the world
until the time of Moses. The Patriarch was King and Priest, exercising a species of
extended family government, in which, among the godly, all temporal affairs were
managed in subserviency to religion. Such were Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, who
" commanded their households to keep time way of the Lord." What an ancient Patriarch
and his patriarchate or family did for advancing among themselves the interests of
godliness, every nation as it body may and should in substance now do, for the present
mode of government has succeeded this primitive institution-is merely an enlarged
family. 2. Melchizedec was King of Salem, and at the same time Priest of the Most High
God. His civil dominion was subservient to the interests of piety. 3. By divine authority
the civil government of the Jews succeeded the primitive patriarchal institution-which
was also rendered completely subservient to the religion of the Son of God. Legal
countenance and support were given to the institutions of religion ; and Moses, Joshua,
David, Solomon, Hezekiah, Josiah, and others, concerned themselves in the capacity of
civil rulers about the interests of the Church. The erection of places of worship-the
support of the ministers of religion, the removal of obstacles-and the correction of abuses,
occupied much of their attention. A clear evidence that union between church and state is
not necessarily, and in itself sinful-else it never could at any time have received the
divine approbation and sanction. 4. The union and co-operation of the King and the
Priest. Moses and Aaron, Joshua and Eleazer, David and Abiathar, Solomon and Zadok,
Hezekiah and Azariah, Zerubbabel and Joshua-and Samuel "who judged Israel and built
an altar unto the Lord," vii. 19. 5. The example of Cyrus and Darius, Ezra i. 1-4 ; vi.
9-12. Approved of God, vi. 12, 16, 20, 24, also viii. 10. 6. The King of Nineveh, when
God's prophet denounced judgment, proclaimed a fast, giving an interesting example of
the duty of magistrates to exercise a care about the moral and religious interests of their
Q. Were not these examples, especially that of the subserviency of the Jewish civil policy
to the true religion, designed to be limited to that dispensation?
A. By no means-as is evident from the consideration, that it was founded in reason, or the
immutable principles of Christian philosophy; for religion is intimately, yea, vitally
connected with all that should be done by man in this life-, and lies at the foundation of
all that, regards his prospects of future blessedness and glory ; and it is unreasonable to
suppose that he should lose sight of it utterly the moment he acts as a member of the civil
community. An immortal being should act everywhere with reference to his immortality.
The reason is as valid to-day as in ancient times, and these examples are therefore to be
copied in all succeeding ages. "What was written of old times was written for our
Q. May not the duty of nations to acknowledge and support the true religion, be
conclusively reasoned from the character of civil magistracy, as the ordinance of God de-
scribed by the apostle in Rum. xiii. 2, .4 1
A. The passage is conclusive, as is evident, 1 . From the title given of the ruler. "The
minister of God." Can the ruler he the minister of God, and yet in his rule have no regard
for religion? 2. From the objects of his office. "A terror to evil doers,'-a "revenger,"-" a
terror to him that doeth evil." Are not offences against the first table, which relates to
God and his worship, evils? Hr is also to be "a praise to them that do well." Are not the
deeds of piety worthy of his countenance? If the magistrate is " the minister of God," and
"a terror to evil doers," he must be so not only to the immoral, but to the profane and
irreligious ; and if "a praise to them that do well," he must be so not only to the moral,
but also the religious-inasmuch as the works of piety are incomparably more excellent
and worthy of fostering care than those of cold morality. 3. Moreover, the passage
teaches that civil magistracy is especially designed for the good of the saints. For they are
particularly addressed,-" to thee," " the saints." Rom. i. 7.
Q. Is not this argument confirmed by the reason given for the prayer for the conversion of
magistrates who were notorious enemies of Christ and persecutors of his religion? I Tim.
A. Yes. For this is not a prayer for the success of an ungodly, immoral, civil power, but a
prayer for the conversion of civil rulers to Christianity ; that their government being
founded upon Christian principles, and its administration regulated by the Christian law,
the subjects may live under its jurisdiction "a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness"
or, which is the same thing, the practice of true religion.
Q. Is not idolatry punishable at the judicial tribunals and is not this a proof of the care
civil rulers should exercise about the true religion?
A. Yes. Job declares it, xxxi. 26, 27, to be "an iniquity to be punished by the judge," and
thereby teaches that the civil ruler should exercise a guardian care about religion in the
suppression of idolatry.
Q. 25. Does not the prophet Isaiah, xlix. 22, 23, write "Kings shall he nursing fathers,"
etc., forcibly teach the duty of civil governments to acknowledge and support the
Christian religion ?
A. Most clearly. The passage manifestly refers to New Testament times, and predicts that
a prominent feature of those times shall be the subserviency of civil rulers to the church.
The figure employed, of " nursing fathers," is a similitude which imports the most tender
care, the most anxious solicitude, not mere protection, but active and unwearied
nourishment and support.
Q. Does this Passage give countenance to the opinion entertained by some, that the best
thing the state can do for the church is "to let her alone"?
A. Certainly not. Such an idea is utterly inconsistent with the figure. Strange and
unnatural nurse, indeed, who takes no interest in the welfare of her feeble charge, but lets
it alone, to shift for itself! On the contrary, the just import of the figure clearly teaches
that in New Testament times it will be esteemed one of the most important and
interesting functions of men in the most exalted civil stations, to nourish and cherish the
church of Christ, as a tender nurse the beloved child committed to her charge.
Q. Is the opinion of some correct, who, to neutralize the force of this passage, hold that
rulers are here spoken of not in their official but in their private and personal capacity,
inasmuch as "queens" may be here viewed not as queens regnant, but consort ?
A. We answer in the words of Dr. Symington, " It is, however, far from self-evident that
queens are spoken of here in the latter capacity; for every candid person will admit
that the very same phraseology might asw naturally be employed in speaking of queens
regnant in relation to their husbands as of kings regnant in relation to their wives. It is,
therefore, not by any means clear that queens are here to be understood as consorts only ;
or, admitting this, will the inference follow from it legitimately that the kings are to be
understood merely in their private domestic capacity, as consorts of the queens. When
subjects pray for the blessing of God on their king and his queen, as they are every day
in the habit of doing, the queen is of course the queen consort, but surely it cannot for a
moment be supposed that they do not refer to the monarch in his official capacity.
Because his partner can only be viewed as associated with him in her private capacity.
Yet it is only on such a supposition as this that the meaning we attach to the passage
before us can be evaded. Even admitting then, for the sake of argument, the interpretation
proposed with regard to queens, they are referred to only as consorts, the inference drawn
from it with regard to kings, does not follow. It does not follow that kings are referred to
only in their private capacity. The kings may still after all be kings regnant, and the
utmost that the passage can be made to bear is, that both kings and whether regnant or
consort, are bound to exert all the influence they possess, in their own proper spheres, to
aid and foster the interests of- Messiah's kingdom in the world. Because queen consorts
can do this, only in their own private sphere, it does not follow that kings regnant, in
their proper sphere, are not also bound to do the same. On the contrary, the prediction
before us leads us to conclude that in the times of the gospel, persons of the most exalted
public stations shall exert their influence in behalf of the church of Christ."
Q. Does not Isaiah, lx. 11, 12, 16, "Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they
shall not be still day nor night: that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles,
and that their kings may be brought. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee
Shall perish ; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. Thou shalt also suck the
milk of the Gentiles, and shall suck the breast of kings," powerfully enforce this doctrine?
A. Yes; with great power. "Here there cannot be the shadow of doubt about the sense in
which kings are spoken of. The pronoun ' their' in this sentence, at least, is decidedly in
favour of the view that they are to be regarded in their public capacity; they are spoken of
as the people's kings, or kings in the possession and exercise of official power and
influence. In this capacity they are represented as ministers to the church of Christ in
various ways. Nor is this passage less decisive that it comprehends a threat of awful
judgement denounced on such nations and rulers as shall refuse to yield the service
Q. Have we not an additional argument of great weight in Ezek. xlv. 17, "It shall be the
prince 's part to give burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and drink offerings in the feasts,
and in the new moons, and in the sabbaths, in all the solemnities of the house of Israel,
and he shall prepare the sin offering ?" etc.
A. Very weighty indeed. The mysterious prophetic vision with which the words quoted
are associated, is believed by all judicious commentators to refer to the church in New
Testament times. Some portions of the figurative allusions are to us mysterious, but the
passage quoted plainly teaches that in those times the civil ruler, in his official capacity,
will contribute largely to the support of religious institutions.
Q. Does not Psalm xlv. 12, "And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift, even the
rich among the people shall entreat thy favour," beautifully instruct us in the same grand
A. It does. The church in this psalm is exhibited in the splendid array of a queen, the
consort of Christ, the king of glory. The accession of the Gentiles to the church seems to
be here predicted under the name of Tyre, a neighbouring city, and at that time the mart
of the world; for even the richest of the nations will in due time submit to the Messiah,
"consecrate their gain" to him, in support of his religion and kingdom, and court the
friendship, and solicit the prayers of his church. "Thy favour," -The pronoun is feminine,
and the queen, the church, is especially meant.
Q. Have we not a further conclusive argument in Is. ii. 2, "And it shall come to pass in
the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the tops of the
mountain, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it ?"
A. Unquestionably. "The last days," or latter days, signify the time of the Messiah. As
Solomon's temple, the centre of Israel's worship, was placed upon a mountain, to which
the people resorted with their sacrifices from distant places, so the church of Christ and
its instituted worship are represented as a temple built upon a mountain. "Mountains" and
"hills" are scripture symbols of the greater and lesser kingdoms of the earth (Amos iv. 1,
Jer. Ii. 25), and the passage plainly teaches the establishment of the church by these
kingdoms, or the national acknowledgment and support of the religion of Christ.
Q. Does not Rev. xi. 15, "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our
Lord and of his Christ," forcibly teach this duty of nations?
A. Very forcibly. Because its manifest interpretation is, that it teaches a national
recognition of the authority of Christ, and a national profession of his religion as
kingdoms promised to Christ. It is not the private and individual regard of many of the
inhabitants of the land that constitute it the kingdom of its Prince, but the publicly
declared and pledged alliance of the people, and of their representatives "It imports their
becoming Christ's as formerly they had been antichrist's. As the nations under antichrist
did acknowledge and submit to antichrist in a national way, so shall they as solemnly
reject antichrist, and take Christ in his room, and become his people in a national
capacity," by submitting to his authority and embracing and supporting the true religion.
Q. Does not Rev. xxi. 24-26 beautifully seal this argument in proof of the duty of nations
nationally to acknowledge and support the true religion?
A. Yes. Here are glorious blessings promised. "The kings of the earth in the church."
"The nations walking in the light of Zion." The kings of the earth promoting the
prosperity of the church by consecrating time wealth and glory of their empires to the
Son of God, to beautify the place of his sanctuary.
Q. Is not the Christian religion, or church of Christ adapted to exert a benign influence
upon the nation by which it is embraced?
A. Yes, in a great variety of ways. 1. It teaches the true character of civil government, as
a benign institution of heaven, or God's own minister for the promotion of the happiness
of man, and is adapted by its teachings to restrain tyranny on the one hand, and to prevent
anarchy on the other, be establishing the just spheres of rulers and ruled. 2. It. is
favourable to true liberty, by checking selfishness and inspiring benevolence, and
teaching a strict moral equality. 3. It operates favourably upon national wealth, as it
requires all to "be diligent in business," for " he that will not work shall not eat ;" teaches
moderation in the use of earthly good, and inspires all to exercise a tender regard for the
poor, and prevent, or at least ameliorate, the evils of pauperism, " which spread like a
leprosy over an immoral population." 4. Greatly promotes the peace of a nation. It
proclaims "peace on earth and good will towards men ;" unites men and nations in the
bonds of Christian love ; and securing peace with God, inclines its subjects to "follow
peace with all men ;" and will ultimately eradicate the fierce and warlike passions of our
depraved nature, and bring about, in proportion as it is nationally embraced, that blessed
period when "nations shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into
pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war
any more". 5. It secures the true morality of a nation. It alone carries with it those ; t ,
influences by which corrupt man is changed in the disposition of his mind, and his
affections are sanctified. Its laws and institutions are adapted to advance the same process
of purification; particularly its Sabbath is a national blessing, as the most effectual
instrumentality for the promotion of the national morality and piety. 6. It places the
nation which embraces and practises it under the divine protection, and secures it "God's
full flood" of blessings, so that by his arm it is defended against all its foes, and by his
bounty it is rendered prosperous and happy Thus Israel was protected and blessed, as the
nation adhered, to the religion of the Messiah ; but " wrath came upon it to the uttermost"
when his religion was corrupted and abandoned.
Q. Is not God's ordinance, as his minister, qualified to exert upon the Church the most
happy influence ?
A. Yes. 1. The state may legally recognise and protect the true religion, and thus make
religion honourable in the nation, and secure to it a wide-spread influence. For this
reason rulers, in scripture, are called "the shields of the earth," and as such, the property
of Christ (Ps. xlvii) and "nursing fathers," so that by a just administration the pious may
"lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty". 2. The civil government can
interpose the sanction of the law, and thus secure a national observance of the Christian
sabbath, without which sanction the church cannot enjoy in pence her Sabbaths, and
without which institution the nation will become utterly demoralized. 3. The civil
magistrate may restrain many things injurious to religion and the best interests of society.
Prov. xx. 24, "A wise king scattereth the wicked, and bringeth the wheel over them" 1
Pet. ii. 14, "Governors, who are sent, for the punishment of evil doer, and for the praise
of them that do well." Rom. xiii. 4. Gross blasphemy, profane swearing, open idolatry
and the desecration of the Sabbath, are legitimate objects of magistratical interference,
not merely as prejudicial to the commonwealth and offensive to the members of society,
but as injurious to religion, and highly displeasing, to the Almighty. 2 Chron. xiv. 2-5 ;
Job. xxxi. 26-21 4. A nation may maintain religion by pecuniary support, Numb, xviii.
26, "When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them
for your inheritance". 2 Chron. xxxi. 4, 5; Neh. x. 32, xiii. 10. Predictions, Psa. lxxii. 10-
15; Is. lx. 3,6,9.
Q. What will necessarily be the consequence to a nation of an entire separation of religion
from the state?
A. Civil society will become essentially and avowedly infidel and the nation be subjected
to the terrible judgment denounced by Jehovah. Is. lx. 12. "The nation and kingdom that
will not, serve thee (the church) shall perish; ye those nations shall be utterly wasted"
Q. Is it practicable for the nations to maintain an entire neutrality respecting religion?
A. No. The nations cannot separate themselves entirely from religion : but the evil is-they
have usually assumed unhallowed supremacy over the church; and even where, in our
own country, they profess indifference, they assume lordly power over the subject, and
dare to place "the bride, the Lamb's wife" in the same position, as it respects their
"nourishing" care, with the false systems, Muslim, Papal and Pagan. Christianity scorns
mere toleration as an associate with idolatry, and superstition, and falsehood-she is
exclusive and uncompromising, and demands implicit acknowledgment.
Q. Is this a "peculiar" doctrine of the Reformed Presbyterian Church?
A. Nearly so. Some other denominations have maintained it. Generally it is loosely held;
and has, of late, become unfashionable, through a spirit of conformity to all infidel world-
and is now left by the many in the hands of the "two witnesses," to be maintained as a
reviled and contemned portion of "the testimony of Jesus."
On the Spiritual Independence of the Church of Christ.
Q. Is the church of Christ absolutely independent?
A. No, she is not; inasmuch as she is in all things subject to her only King and Head, the
Lord Jesus Christ.
Q. In what, then, does her spiritual independence consist?
A. Her spiritual independence consists in this— SHE IS ABSOLUTELY FREE FROM
ALL MERELY HUMAN SUPREMACY.
Q. If the civil ruler, as you have taught, is under obligation to acknowledge and support
the church of Christ, as a nurse, must he not as a nurse have authority over it?
A. The civil ruler is a nurse to the church merely as to the care he must exercise
concerning it, in the supply of nourishment, &c. (Thou shalt suck the breast of kings), but
he has no authority in nor over it, the authority is in the parent and Head of the church. 2
Cor. vi. 18. " 1 will be a Father unto you, saith the Lord Almighty. "
Q. In what light, then, are we to consider the administration of civil rulers respecting the
A. Whatever service the civil ruler may be required by the law of God, to render the
church, he acts only in his civil capacity, in the legitimate exercise of his civil rule, and
not from any ecclesiatical authority in or over the church?
Q. Does his ministry, then, respecting the church, simply regard things external to the
church, things circa sacra, which relate only to her outward prosperity and comfort?
A. This is the whole extent of his privilege in this respect. He acts simply as a civil ruler,
who is "the minister of God" in that capacity, and is bound as such to promote the wel-
fare of the church-or the interests of piety in the administration of the civil dominion with
which he is intrusted. 1 Tim. ii. 2. Their administration is to be such, that Christians "may
lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all GODLINESS and honest".
Q. Are not church and state mutually dependent powers?
A. By no means. They are co-ordinate, but not mutually dependent powers. They have
distinct authority and spheres of action; and are mutually in their respective spheres,
absolutely independent of each other.
Q. What? Have you not taught us-that the church is to be "established" in the "tops of the
mountains," and "exalted above the hills," pre-eminent above all the civil kingdoms of
the world? Has she not, therefore, authority over the state?
A. This pre-eminence of the church in the times referred to, respects her simply as an
object of care, respect, and interest, to the nations of the earth-but does not inculcate the
anti-Christian doctrine-that the church (or her officers) has any dominion over the
Q. What do you mean, then, by co-ordinate powers?
A. Simply that they are powers which are equal as it respects authority, and strictly
independent of each other; whilst, being respectively subject to the same supreme King
and Lawgiver, they may live in happy alliance, and mutually co-operate, in their
respective spheres, in the promotion of the same great ends-the glory of God, and the
good of man.
Q. May not church and state be mutually subservient, whilst they are not strictly
subordinate, one to the other but mutually independent ?
A. Subserviency is the proper term. Neither is subordinate to the other; but, as has been
fully shown, they may happily, each in its own manner, subserve the interests of the
other-the church promote the good of civil society, and the state foster the interests of
Q. Is the church, then, absolutely independent of all human control?
A. Yes, strictly so. No earthly power, be it king, prelate, Pope, or synod-or "We the
people (civilly or ecclesiastically viewed), has any right to domineer over the church. It is
composed of Christ's freemen, and is itself free from all outward control. Mat. xxiii. 8, 9,
10. "Call no man your father upon the earlh-neither be ye called masters."
Q. May not the state extend to the church protection, and countenance, and pecuniary
support, and friendly cooperation, without exercising any supremacy over her?
A. Yes. All this, we have seen, the state may legitimately do-but has no right to dictate
the creed of the church, to institute its laws, to appoint its ministers, or to interfere in any
one way with either its constitution or administration.
Q. May not the church exist, independently of, and even flourish, without the friendly
alliance and co-operation of the state ?
A. Yes. The church has not only existed, but, flourished independently of both these, and
even in defiance of the wrath, opposition, and persecuting rage of the state-because she
possesses a living and almighty energy-THE ETERNAL SPIRIT, to apply her truth, and
render effectual her institutions upon the conscience and life of her members, and to
gather in "the travail of the (Redeemer's) soul," and not all the power of the civil arm
when made bare in wrath, and wielding the sword of persecution, has been, or can be,
able to paralyse this energy.
Q. Is it not pure and undisguised Erastianism to maintain that such alliance is essential to
the being of the church?
A. Yes. Such a principle is degrading to the honour of the church, and subversive of the
very end of its existence.
Q. Whilst this alliance is not essential to the existence, may it not be beneficial to the
well-being of Zion?
A. Yes. This is the proper light in which to contemplate the subject.. Human beings may
exist without many external things, which, however, when possessed, conduce largely to
their comfort, peace, and enjoyment: consequently, the fact of the church's capability of
existence even in defiance the opposition of the state, constitutes no argument against
their friendly alliance and co-operation, but is evidence, by contrast, of the mutual benefit
of such alliance and co-operation.
Q. Whilst church and state are strictly co-ordinate powers, and the latter has no dominion
over the ecclesiastical society as such, and the former over the civil as such, may not the
same persons, in respect of different relations be superior or inferior to another person,
and may require another, and be themselves required, to fulfil relative duties; and in case
of delinquency, may arraign others, or be themselves arraigned pursuant to the laws of
their respective courts?
A. Yes. Thus ministers, as ambassadors of Christ, have a right to require magistrates, as
church members, faithfully to execute their magistratical power, so as may best promote
the honour of Christ, and the welfare of his church; and in case of gross acts of
maladministration, may inflict upon them censures of the house of God. And, on the
other hand, magistrates have a right to require ministers as their subjects, faithfully to
execute ministerial power, as an excellent means of rendering the nation pious and
virtuous, in order that its happiness may thereby be promoted.
Q. Will not this principle, if duly attended to, and piously applied, free the Westminster
Confession of Faith from the false imputation of Erastianism, charged upon modern
A. Most certainly. "There are several articles in twentieth, twenty-third, and thirty-first
chapters, which been much inveighed against, as giving the magistrate much power in the
church of Christ. Let it be considered that eo can convoke synods, not formally as
ecclesiastical judicatories, but only as members of the commonwealth in which character
they are his subjects. Rom. xiii. 1. "When convened, surely they are bound to do what is
most calculated to promote the glory of God. If their synodical deliberations be calculated
to do so, should they not essay them? Should they become remiss, ought he not to require
them, as his subjects, to do their duty?" If he views these things with indifference, he
cannot be "the minister of God for good to men" .
Q. Where is this duty of magistrates clearly and scripturally expressed?
A. It is clearly expressed and amply sustained by scripture in the following quotation
from "Reformation Principles." "It is the duty of the Christian magistrate to take order,
that open blasphemy and idolatry, licentiousness, and immorality be suppressed, and that
the church of Christ be supported throughout the commonwealth; and for the better
discharge of these important duties, it is lawful for him to call synods, in order to consult
with them; to be present at them, not interfering with their proceedings, (unless they
become manifestly seditious andl dangerous to the peace,) but supporting the
independency of the church and its righteous decisions, and preserving its unity and order
against the attempts of such despisers of ecclesiastical authority as should endeavour, in a
riotous manner to disturb their proceedings." This doctrine is amply sustained by the
following texts : Rom. xiii. 4 ; Lev. xxiv. 16 ; 2 Chron. xiv. 2, 1; Rev. xvii. 16 ; Prov, xx.
26 ; Is. ci. 8; Prov, xiv. 34, xvi. 12 ; Is. xlix. 23, lx. 10-12, lxii. 4 ; 2 Sam. xxiii. 3 ; 2
Chron. xxix. 2, 4, 15, xxx. 22 ; Rev, xxi. 24 ; Dan. vii. 22 ; 2 Cor, x. 31 ; Ps. cxxxvii. 5,
Q. Would not such in exercise of authority infringe upon the liberty and independence of
A. By no means. Ii the friendly alliance supposed to exist between church and state, the
latter has not only engaged to "nourish" the church, but the rulers of the church, in their
sphere, have engaged to discharge their duty, for the good of the state, and it is perfectly
within the sphere of the civil authority to require the ecclesiastical to do its duty
according to the acknowledged constitution of the church, which has become the law of
the land ; and so reciprocally in reference to the delinquency of the state authorities.
Q. How are, we to regard any interference of the civil powers with the legitimate
independence of the church?
A. Such interference must be regarded as an unhallowed invasion of the rights of the
people, and a monstrous usurpation of the inalienable rights and prerogatives of the
church's glorious HEAD.
Q. Has not the church greatly suffered from such interference ?
A. She has. For from such interferences have sprung some of the grossest corruptions and
severest sufferings of the church; and they cannot be too jealously watched against, or too
Q. Is not patronage a gross invasion upon the liberty and indulgence of the church, and
the prerogatives of her glorious, Head?
A. Yes. It is one of the most daring invasions of right and usurpation of Christ's authority
over the church, in as much its it subjects the minister of religion to the absolute control
of the state.
Q. What is patronage?
A. By patronage we understand the right claimed for certain men, on the ground of
property alone, to nominate ministers to parishes or congregations.
Q. What may this definition comprehend?
A. It may comprehend not only those cases in which one man exercises the right of
nomination to the exclusion of all other parties, but those also in which men, on the
ground of merely civil and secular qualifications, co-operate with a congregation in the
selection of a minister.
Q. In how many forms does this evil appear ?
A. This evil, which we condemn, appears in many forms 1 . Whenever men, on account of
superior wealth or elevated rank, assume the power of dictating a minister to the
members of Christ's flock-there is patronage. 2. Whenever men unconnected -with the
church by membership, are permitted on account of some largesse bestowed by them for
the erection of a place of worship, to enjoy a share in the election of a minister- there is
patronage. 3. Wherever, on condition of contributing to the support of the congregation,
the interference of men, neither holding nor Seeking to hold the privileges of
membership, is sanctioned in the choice of of a pastor-there is Patronage. 4. Wherever, by
the erastian legislation of the state, a civil right to nominate ministers is conferred on
men, who may be members of any church, or members of no church whatever-there is
patronage, and there is a church enslaved.
Q. Are not such claims, especially in the fourth form, utterly inconsistent with the
Spiritual independence of the church?
A. Yes, most clearly. For the church is a kingdom, as we have seen, under the
administration of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a kingdom of which he is the supreme and
sole Head. "This truth," to use the words of the famous Gillespie, "that Jesus Christ is a
king, and hath a kingdom and government in his church distinct from the kingdoms of
this world, and from the civil government hat this commendation and character above all
other truths, that Christ himself suffered to death for it, and sealed it with his blood."
Patronage interferes with the right of the Head of the church to legislate in all matters
pertaining to the internal administration of his kingdom, and with her spiritual
independence under him.
Q. Can patronage stand the test of a reference to its origin ?
A. Our Fathers, of the First Reformation in Scotland, clearly held that it could not, and
they have recorded their conviction on the subject in language not to be misunderstood. 1.
The Second Book of Discipline contains these words, "Because this order which God's
word craves, cannot stand with patronage, and presentation to benefices, used in the
Pope's Kirk, we deem all them that truly fear God, earnestly to consider that, forasmuch
as the names of patronages and benefices, together with the effect thereof, have flowed
from the Pope and corruption of the Canon law only -and, forasmuch as that manner of
proceeding hath no ground in the word of God, they ought, not to have place in the light
of Reformation." (1578.) To the same effect, we find the Reformers of 1649 issuing the
following clear decision: "Considering that patronages and presentations of Kirks is an
evil and bondage under which the Lord's people and ministers of the land have long
groaned, and that it has no warrant in God's word, but is founded only in the Canon law,
and a custom Popish, and brought into the Kirk in the time of ignorance and
superstition," &c. This quotation from act of the Scottish Estate of Parliament sufficiently
proves the origin to be in the darkness and superstition of Popery.
Q. How did it originate in these dark and superstitious times?
A. In several ways. 1 . Individuals and communities under the influence of superstitious
notions built and endowed churches, and the law in recognition of this act of benevolence
reserved for them and for their successors the disposal of the benefices. 2. Ambitious
men, not satisfied with civil pre-eminence, gradually obtained the right of nominating to
benefices, in order that their importance in the eyes of the vulgar might be enhanced by
investiture with a spiritual prerogative. 3. There was another source of patronage. Wily
ecclesiastics, intent upon wealth and aggrandizement, fostered the notion that by human
merit divine favour was acquired. Largesses to the church were exhibited as meritorious
in the highest degree, by many plain-spoken statements, and many convenient innuendos.
In return for such kindness, the right of patronage was assigned to the deluded votaries
Such was the origin of patronage. Let us never forget, however, that hired charity
is but an equivocal virtue, whilst a church that could sanction the bestowment of
ecclesiastical privileges for money will find its prototype in Simon Magus with greater
success than its first Pope in Simeon Peter.
Q. What is therefore the character of Patronage in any and all of its forms?
A. It is it gross violation of the rights of the freemen of Christ, and usurpation of His
royal prerogatives as King in Zion; and thus subverts the spiritual independence of the
Q. In how many ways may a nation violate the independence of the church?
A. In a great many ways. 1 . When civil rulers claim the right of prescribing a creed or
confession to the church, and, perhaps, of enforcing submission to it by civil penalties. 2.
When they undertake to regulate the government of the church, in virtue of usurped
supremacy over her. 3. When they claim a right of nominating her office-bearers, or of
authoritatively determining in whose hands that right shall be placed. 4. When they
control the meetings ecclesiastical courts, convening, proroguing, or dissolving them at
pleasure; or limiting them with regard to the matters discussed in them. 5. When they
tamper with the worship of the church, loading it with rites and ceremonies, and
disguising the beautiful simplicity of New Testament worship, by pompous additions of
human inventions. 6. When they interfere with the discipline of the church, by admitting'
or excluding members, annulling ecclesiastical censures, or dictating terms of Church
fellowship. Let her "standfast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made her
Q. Is it, indeed, a truth that Christ hath granted to his people the right of electing their
own pastors free from the yoke of patronage in any of its aspects?
A. Yes. Acts xiv. 23, were it alone, would be sufficient proof. "And when they had
ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended
them to the Lord," &c. Xsipoxovsco (ordained) signifies to hold out the hand,
compounded of xsip, the hand, and xsiveo, to extend. The action of holding out the hand
is expressive of choice and resolution. It marks a decision of the will, whether intended or
The word is used to signify divine appointment, Acts x. 21; human choice, 2 Cor.
viii. 19 ; and it signifies to elect to office by holding up the hand. "At Athens some of the
magistrates were called xsipoTOvnToi, because they were elected by the people in this
manner. "-Parkhurst. " Election and consequent ordination of elders in the church! Thus it
is manifest from the critical import Of the Passage that Christ hath conferred the right of
the choice of pastors, by the free suffrages of the members of the church, without respect
of persons, and thus in this respect secured the independence of His church.
Q. Has not the free Church of Scotland given a noble testimony to this right of Christ's
people, and His crown right as the sole King in Zion?
A. Yes. She has nobly unrolled one fold of the ancient flag of the Covenanter, and
brought to view a portion of its glorious inscription, Christ's crown. But to be a
consistent witness, she must testify to Christ's prerogative of "KING OF kings, and
dissenting from the British ecclesiastico-civil constitution "as a horn of the Beast, " unfurl
the whole ancient flag, and display the full inscription, in rich emblazonry, CHRIST'S
CROWN AND COVENANT.
On the Right and Duty of Dissent from an immoral Constitution of
Q. Is civil Society a voluntary or involuntary association?
A. Civil society is a voluntary association. Men are not only social being, but rational and
free agents, and all have naturally equal rights; and, consequently, have a right to judge of
the character of the government about to be constituted, or already constituted, and to
unite with it, or not, as their best judgment may determine. "Prove all things; hold fast
that which is good."
Q. Is a civil government bound to admit to its peculiar privileges every person who may
reside within the reach of its power?
A. Certainly not. Government is, indeed, bound to extend a paternal care over all, and
should oppress none; but it is not under obligation to admit every character to the
enjoyment of all its peculiar privileges; for the ignorance and immorality of some, and
the oaths which bind others to a foreign power (the papists to the Pope, for example) may
utterly disqualify them for the discharge of the duties of loyal citizens.
Q. Has every government a right to enact laws of naturalization?
A. Yes, every government has a right to define the principles upon which it will admit
aliens to the enjoyment of full citizenship. Deut, xxiii. 8: "The children that are begotten
of them shall enter into the congregation of the Lord in the third generation." Acts xxii.
27, 28: "tell me, Art thou a Roman? He said, Yes. And the chief captain answered, With a
great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born."
Q. Is every person, dwelling within the limits of a nation, bound to incorporate with the
A. By no means. He may claim the Privilege, as Israel in Egypt of a sojourner in the land,
without fully incorporating with the national society. Gen. xlvii. 4: "And they
said unto Pharaoh, For to sojourn in the land are we to come." See, also, Numb. x. 29, 30;
Heb. xi. 9.
Q. Does not every individual possess the right of expatriation?
A. Yes, every individual has a right to change his residence and his country, and thus
dissolve the bonds which may have bound him to a particular community, Heb. xi. 16:
"And truly if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they
might have had opportunity to have returned."
Q. Are nations, in making laws of naturalization, and individuals in the exercise of the
right of expatriation, at liberty to act arbitrarily according to their own will?
A. No. Both these rights are to be exercised in conformity to the law of God, the supreme
Ruler and Judge. The laws, in the one case, must be founded on justice; and the
individual, in the other, must be satisfied that by expatriating himself he can best promote
the glory of God as well as his own good. James iv. 12, 15: "There is one lawgiver... . For
that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that."
Q. Is not the individual, who declines incorporating with the national society, entitled to
protection, in the enjoyment of his inalienable rights-life, liberty, and the pursuit of
A. Unquestionably. Numbers xv. 15: "One ordinance shall he both for you of the
congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourner with you: as ye are, so shall the
stranger be before the Lord." Exod. xxii. 21: "Thou shalt neither vex the stranger, nor
oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt."
Q. Is it the duty of Christians to profess allegiance to any government that may exist in
Providence, however hostile to the kingdom of Christ, though sustained by the majority
of those within the reach of its Power?
A. By no means.
Q. Why? Is it not said, "The powers that be are ordained of God? and let every soul be
A. The reasons are many. 1 . The powers ordained of God have been shown, in a former
section, to be moral powers. The authority which he sanctions, and to which he
commends conscientious allegiance, is one which is "a terror to evil doers, and a praise to
them that do well." 2. Such Powers as oppose God and Christ, are not ordained of God
in any other sense than "the prince of the power of the air," whom they serve, is. 3. There
are "thrones of iniquity which decree mischief by a law," with which God will not "have
fellowship". Ps. xciv. 20. 4. Existing governments are the organs of the devil. Rev. xiii.
12 ; xii. 9. "And the Dragon ('the Devil and Satan) gave him (the Roman empire, under
all its forms of government, and especially in present divided state,) his power, and his
seat, and great authority." 5. They are described as waging war, at the present time, with
the Lamb, God's Vicegerent. Rev. xvii. 14: "These (the ten kingdoms of the beast) shall
make war with the Lamb." God, certainly, does not require any one to yield allegiance to
such. 6. Consequently, "No power which deprives the subject of civil liberty, which
wantonly squanders his property, and sports with his life, or which authorizes false
religion, (however it may exist according to Divine providence,) is approved of or
sanctioned by God, or ought, to be esteemed and supported by men, as a moral
institution." Prov. xxix. 2: "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but
when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn." xxviii. 16 : "As a roaring lion, and a
raging bear, so is a wicked ruler over the poor people." Hos. viii. 4:"They have set up
kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not." Also, Ps. xciv. 20; ii. 2.
7. It follows necessarily, that to such powers Christians cannot bind themselves in
allegiance, and maintain a moral subjection to Christ. Allegiance to governments of such
a character is rebellion against Heaven.
Q. What kind of submission may; be rendered to immoral and tyrannical governments,
the ordinance of Satan, such as now exist?
A. Christians, in the exercise of their Christian liberty, and in the performance of the duty
"proving all things, and holding fast what is good," can submit to such governments "for
wrath 's sake, " ONLY, which kind of submission has no respect to the power as
legitimate authority, but simply, from dread of the cruelty of the tyrant, who pours forth
his fury upon all who oppose his misrule. To God's moral ordinance as described, is
allegiance due for conscience sake. Submission to this is submission to God.
Q. When Christians reside under an immoral government, is not conformity to the
general order of society a duty, provided this can be done without violating the divine
A. If the constituted authorities of a nation are not in voluntary subserviency to the
Mediator, but, opposed to authority, law, and religion, for the sake of peace and order,
and for the sake of contributing as much as possible to the ease and happiness of society,
and from a spirit of resignation to the Divine providence, and in order to make legitimate
provision for themselves and relatives, so much conformity to the prevailing system as is
consistent with their oath of allegiance to Messiah, is a duty conscientiously to be
practised, although very distinct from that obedience for conscience sake which they
would render to the government of their choice, to the authority which has the sanction of
the Divine approbation. Jer, xxix. 4-7, " Seek the peace of the city whither I have caused
you to be carried away captive, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof
shall ye have peace."
Q. Whilst it is the duty of Christians thus to live a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness
and honesty, in conformity to the laws of Christ, which are everywhere, and at all times,
obligatory upon them-is it not their duty publicly to declare their dissent from an immoral
constitution of civil government, within the reach of whose power they may reside?
A. This is, indeed, their duty. Because, 1. They are bound to defend God's moral
ordinance of civil government, in the purity of which, God's own honour as "the
Governor of the nations," is deeply involved. Rev. ii. 26, 20, "That which you have
already hold fast till I come; and he that overcometh-and. Keepeth my works unto the
end-to him will I give power in the nations," &c. Isa. viii. 16, "Bind up the testimony,
seal the law among my disciples." 2. The purity of this holy ordinance cannot be
preserved, if it is confounded with the existing immoral systems, and by an
indiscriminate exercise of allegiance. 3. Christians are witnesses for God among men ;
and having in their possession " the testimony of God," in the Holy Scriptures, respecting
the true character of civil government, and the duty of national subjection to Christ and
his law, and respect for the holy religion, it is their duty to apply the doctrines of
inspiration upon this subject, in stating and defending the truth and condemning the
existing immoral systems, and in bearing public testimony against all who uphold them.
Is xliii, .10, "Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord." Rev. xi. 3, "I will give power to my
two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and three score days,
clothed in sackcloth;" xii. 17, "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to
make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have
the testimony of Jesus Christ." See also Rev. xvii. 14, Acts v. 32, xxvi. 16, Micah iv. 8-
1 8, Mark vi. 11. 4. The witnesses in Revelation are raised up not only to testify against
the ecclesiastical apostasy, "the scarlet woman," or Roman church-and "the image of the
beast"'-the Papacy -but also against "the seven-headed and ten-horned" beast-or the civil
powers-upon which the woman rides. The nations which sustain Antichrist, and are
equally, with "the man of sin," Antichristian, and are at war with the Lamb. See passages
last quoted, together with Rev. xiii. 1, 2, xvii. 3-14, and xii. 11, "And they overcame him,
(the devil embodied in the Roman church papacy, and civil powers,) by the blood of the
Lamb and by the word of their testimony" xvii. 14, "These, (the civil powers,) shall make
war with the Lamb-and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King
of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful."
Q. Are not virtuous persons, who, in their private capacity, are endeavouring to further
the true end of civil government-the maintenance of peace and quietness in all godliness
and honesty, although they dissent from the constitution of civil government of the nation
in which they reside, entitled to protection?
A. They certainly are entitled to protection in their lives, liberties, and property; " but
they are not to act inconsistently with their declared dissent, and it would be tyranny to
constrain them to such measures." Exod. xxii. 21, "Thou shalt neither vex a stranger nor
oppress him." See also Rom. xiii. 3, 1 Tim. ii. 2, Jer. xxi. 12, Esther iii. 8, 9.
Q. Should not "Christians, testifying against national evils, and striving, in the use of
moral means to effect a reformation, relinquish temporal privileges, rather than do any-
thing which may appear to contradict their testimony, or lay a stumbling-block before
their weaker brethren ?"
A. This is still questionably their duty. Because they cannot convince men of their own
sincerity, and of the immorality of a principle or practice, whilst they themselves are
found actually maintaining the immoral principle or practice, (by oath of allegiance,
voting, and holding offices, &c.,) and enjoying the emoluments of iniquity decreed by
law. Heb. xi. 24, 26, 36, "By faith, Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be
called the son of Pharaoh's daughter. Esteeming the reproach of Christ to be greater
riches than the treasures in Egypt. And others had trials of cruel mockings and
scourgings, yea, moreover, of bonds and imprisonments." Numb, xxiii. 9, "Lo, the people
shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations." Rom. xiv. 21, "It is good
neither to eat flesh, nor drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is
Q. Will not such a public dissent from immoral governments, and faithful testimony
against them, ultimately prevail to their overthrow?
A. Yes. By these means the witnesses will prevail, however much they may suffer in the
meantime, and will be the honoured instruments of establishing the millennial kingdom
of the Lamb. Rev. xii. 11, "And they overcame him, by the blood of the Lamb and by the
word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death." Dan. vii. 22, "the
Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High ; and the
time came that the saints possessed the kingdom." Rev. xx. 4, "And I saw thrones, and
they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them ; and I saw the souls of them that
were beheaded for the witness of Jesus' and for the word of God, and which had not
worshipped the beast, (the civil powers,) neither his image, (the Papacy,) neither had
received his mark, (yielded allegiance,) upon their foreheads, or in their hands ; and they
lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years."
Q. Is not this doctrine of the right and duty of dissent from immoral constitutions of civil
government, a doctrine peculiar to the Reformed Presbyterian Church?
A. Yes. It is a principle peculiar to them, for they alone hold it as a doctrine, and
allegiance, a practical exemplification of it by refusing oaths of allegiance, voting at the
polls, and holding office,-and other modes by which they can declare their dissent from
the immoral constitutions of government where they reside, and testify publicly against
them, and exhibit in contrast the excellency and majesty of civil government as the moral
ordinance of heaven.
On the Duty of Covenanting and the Permanent Obligations
of Religious Covenants.
Q. What is a covenant?
A. A covenant in a mutual engagement between two parties, in which certain
performances are stipulated on the one band, and certain promises on the other.
Q. Wherein does a covenant differ from a law, a vow, and an oath?
A. 1 . It differs from a law in this, that it supposes mutual stipulations, while in a law there
is no stipulation whatever, but simply the authority of a superior enjoining obedience on
an inferior 2. It differs from a vow, inasmuch as, while a covenant supposes engagement
on both sides, a vow supposes engagement on one side only; a person who vows
engaging to perform some particular service without any promise being supposed to be
annexed to the performance. 3. It differs from an oath; an oath being nothing more than a
solemn appeal to God for the truth of some assertion that is made, without, as in a
covenant, either an engagement to duty, or promise of reward. 4. In a covenant, then,
there is engagement by two parties-in a vow there is engagement by one party only-in an
oath there is no engagement at all.
Q. Does a covenant, whilst it differs from each, at the same time suppose the existence of
a law, and include both an oath and a vow?
A. Yes. "A covenant proceeds upon the supposition of something being obligatory, and
here is the idea of law. It implies an engagement to perform what is admitted to possess
the obligation ; and here is the idea of a vow. It supposes the covenanter to appeal to God
with regard to the sincerity of his intentions, and here is the idea of an oath."
Q. Are the terms covenant, vow, oath, used interchangeably to describe the same
A. Yes. According as one or other of these is designed to be prominently expressed, the
same deed may be described by one or other of these terms.
Q. What does a covenant suppose in addition to the above definition, and as expressing a
difference between a law, a vow, or an oath?
A. It supposes the promise of a reward which is not necessarily involved in any of the
Q. Are covenants either civil or religious?
A. Yea. 1 . Civil, when entered into between man or society of men with respect to the
affairs of this life. 2. Religious, when entered into between God and men with respect to
the duties men owe to God, more especially religious duties.
Q. Are religious covenants either personal or social?
A. They are both. 1. Personal, when an individual engages, on the one hand, to keep the
commandments of the Lord, and takes hold by faith, on the other, of God's gracious
promise. 2. Social, when a society engages with joint concurrence to perform certain
duties, and to embrace with one heart the precious promises of Jehovah.
Q. Is it competent to any society, be it a family, a church, or a nation, to enter with
common understanding and consent into a federal [covenanting] transaction?
A. Yes. And when this is done by a large corporate body, the transaction is called a
public social covenant, which is the subject of consideration in this section.
Q. What is public social covenanting?
A. It is a solemn religious transaction in which men, with joint concurrence avouch the
Lord to be their God, and engage, in all the relations of life, to serve him by obedience to
his law, in the performance of all civil and religious duties in the confidence of his favour
and blessing in the fulfilment to them of all his gracious promises. Deut. xxix. 10-13. "Ye
stand this day all of you before the LORD your God; your captains of your tribes, your
elders, and your officers, with all the men of Israel, Your little ones, your wives, and thy
stranger that is in thy camp, from the hewer of thy wood unto the drawer of thy water:
That thou shouldest enter into covenant with the LORD thy God, and into his oath, which
the LORD thy God maketh with thee this day: That he may establish thee to day for a
people unto himself, and that he may be unto thee a God, as he hath said unto thee, and as
he hath sworn unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob." Josh, xxiv. 1, 25. 2
Chr. xv. 9, 12, 15. Is. xix. 18. Jer. xi. 10.
Q. By what arguments can it be proved that public social covenanting is of divine
authority, and so of moral obligation?
A. By numerous arguments. 1. The light of nature. The mariners of Tarshish, Jonah i. 16.
"Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and
made vows. " Epictetus, a heathen moralist, thus expresses himself: "To this God we
ought to swear an oath, such as the soldiers swear to Caesar. They indeed, by the
inducement of their wages, swear that they will value the safety of Caesar before all
things; and will you, then, honoured with so many and so great benefits not swear to God
or having sworn, will you not continue steadfast? 2. Scripture precepts. Ps. lxxvi. 11.
"Vow and pray unto the Lord your God." Jer. iv. 6. "Thou shalt swear the Lord liveth in
truth, in judgment, and in righteousness." Also xliv. 26, and ]deut. x. 20. 2 Chr. xxx. 8.
"Yield (give the hand) yourselves unto the Lord-and serve the Lord your God; " and Rom
vi. 13, Mat. v. 33. "Thou shall perform unto the Lord thy oaths. " Rom xii. 1. 3. Scripture
examples. Deut. xxvi. 15-19. "Thou hast avouched the Lord to be thy God-and the Lord
hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people-that thou shouldst keep all his
commandments." xxix. 10-13. Quoted above, Josh. xxiv. 1, 25-" So Joshua made a
covenant with the people that day," &c. 2 Kings xi. 17. "And Jehoiada made a covenant
between the Lord and the king and the people, that they should be the Lord's people."
xxiii. 1,2; also, Neh. x. 29, &c
Q. Is not covenanting a duty confined to ancient times, and not obligatory under the
A. As it is of moral obligation, it is consequently a duty incumbent upon present times;
for things which are moral do not diminish in their obligation by the lapse of time.
Q. By what arguments can its obligation in New Testament times, be solidly proved?
A. By the following. 1. It was obviously a duty under the Old Testament dispensation,
and being nowhere repealed, and being moral and not typical, it is of present obligation.
Ps. lxxvi. 11, "Vow and pray unto the Lord your God." 2. Scripture prophecies, evidently
referring to New Testament times, and even yet to be fulfilled. Is. xix. 18, 21, 23, 24, 25,
"In that day (the latter day) shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of
Canann, and swear to the Lord of hosts" &c, &c. Jer. iv. 4, 5. "In those clays (Mil-
lennial), and in that time, saith the Lord, the children of Israel shall come, they and the
children of Judah together, going and weeping; they shall go and seek the Lord their God.
They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come and let us join
ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten. " 3. The New
Testament recognises the obligation. Rom. vi. 13. Compare 2 Chr. xxx. 8, 2 Cor. viii. 5.
"The Macedonian churches, says Paul, "Not as we hoped, but first gave their ownselves
unto the Lord, and unto us by the will of God." Not in the Lord's supper, which Paul
certainly hoped they would do, but to his surprise, in a public social covenant. Rom. i. 31.
"Covenant breakers" have a place in the catalogue of sinners, whose conduct is
denounced as displeasing to the Almighty; which could not be the case, unless on the
supposition of the continued obligation of covenanting. 4. It was one of the distinguishing
privileges of the Jews to be in covenant with God. "I am married unto you, saith the
Lord:" The privileges of the New Testament dispensation are increased and not
diminished. Heb. xii. 18, 22. 5. This duty is involved in the church's relation to God, as a
married relation. Hos. ii. 19, 20 ; Eph. v. 30, iv. 25. Covenanting is only a solemn
recognition of this relation, and engagement to evidence this by a life and conversation
becoming the Gospel. Is. Ixii. 4, evidently alludes, to New Testamnent times, and
celebrates not only an ecclesiastical, but national marriage. By the marriage of a land
unto God, we are not to understand that the trees of the forrest, the mountains or plains
come under engagements. Surely it must be the nation inhabiting the land. National
marriage implies a national deed whereby the inhabitants, in their national capacity,
solemnly covenant unot God. 6. The duty, when performed in its true spirit, is a source
of unspeakable benefit, to a people; and, as nations seek the blessing, they should
perform the duty. Ps. cxliv. 15, "Happy is that people that is in such a case ; yea happy is
that people whose God is the Lord." Bound to God and he to them in "an everlasting
covenant, not to be forgotten."
Q. Have covenants a distinct intrinsic obligation peculiar to themselves?
A. Yes. Covenants possess an obligation distinct from God's law. The covenanter is
brought under an additional obligation to do the will of God. He is bound not merely by
the naked authority of the divine word, but by his own voluntary act. "The covenant does
not bind to anything additional to what the law of God contains, but /'/ additionally binds-
it superinduces a new and different obligation. As in the case of an oath. The obligation
to tell the truth is universal and perpetual; but an oath brings the person who swears,
under an additional obligation. Before he took the oath, if he deviated from the truth, he
was guilty simply of lying; now he is guilty of perjury. Before, he violated only the
authority of God; now he violates both the authority of God and the obligation of his
Q. What constitutes the formal reason of covenant obligation?
A. It is the personal act of the covenanter which constitutes the formal reason why a duty,
when sworn to, is binding as a covenant duty, and not the obligation of the divine law, or
morality of the act. "Were the morality of the duty the reason of covenant obligation, then
all mankind would be formally covenanters, because the reason extends unto all,
inasmuch as the moral law binds every man. Thus covenanting would be a mere cypher,
and carry no obligation in it at all; for it does not affect the morality of the duty, that
being the same before as after covenanting."
Q. Are public social covenants of continuous obligation? or, are they binding upon the
posterity of the original covenanters as long as the corporate body exists; or, until such
time as the object for which they were framed has been accomplished?
A. They are and this position is sustained by forcible arguments. 1. We find posterity
recognised in all the transactions between God and Jacob, at Bethel. Gen. xxviii. 13;
compared with Hosea xii. 4. "He found him (Jacob) in Bethel, and there he spake with
us. " 2. We have another remarkable instance of the transmission of covenant obligation
to posterity in Deut. v. 2, 3. "The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The
Lord made not this covenant with our fathers (only) but with us, even us, who are all of
us here alive this day." 3. Another example occurs in Deut. xxix. 10-15 ; the covenant is
here made with three descriptions of persons. 1. With those addressed adults. "Neither
with you only." 2. Minors. "Him that standeth here with us." 3. Posterity. "Him that is not
here with us this day"-for this could have no reference to any of the Israelites then in
existence, as they were all present. It must, therefore, include posterity, together with all
future accessions to the community. With them, Moses informs us, the covenant was
made, as well as with those who actually entered into it, in the plains of Moab. 4. Another
instance in which posterity is recognised in covenant obligation is found in Joshua ix. 15.
This covenant was made between the children of Israel and the Gibeonites. Between four
and five hundred years after that time, the children of Israel are visited with a very severe
famine in the days of David. 2 Sam. xxi. 1 . And it is expressly declared by the Lord that,
"It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites." And at the
same time, v. 2, that very covenant is recognised, and the breach of it is stated, as being
the formal reason of the divine displeasure. Now, had it not been for this covenant, the
extirpation of the Gibeonites would not have been imputed to Israel as a thing criminal ;
for they were comprehended in Canaanitish nations which God had commanded them to
root out. 5. Posterity were charged with the sin of violating the covenant of their
ancestors. Jer. xi. 10. '"The house of Israel, and the house of Judah, have broken my
covenant which I made with their fathers" -by which they are evidently considered as
bound. 6. The principle of federal representation confirms this doctrine. Thus when
Joseph made a covenant with his brethren, that they should carry up his bones from Egypt
to the land of promise. He assumed that those whom he addressed, were the
representatives of their successors, as he knew well that the whole of that generation
should die before the deliverance of Israel by Moses. Posterity recognized the obligation.
Ex. xiii. 19. A similar case of federal representation, is that of the Gibeonites quoted
above. 6. Infant baptism is a forcible illustration of the continuous obligation of
covenants. 7. The principle of the transmissibility of the obligations of covenants to
posterity, is recognised by civilians in civil matters. In the obligations, for example, of the
heir of an estate, for the engagements of his predecessor in the possession of it. All
national treaties and other engagements of the corporate body, descend with all their
weight upon succeeding generations."
Q. Upon what is the principle in question founded?
A. "The principle in question is founded in the right which parents have to represent their
posterity in certain social transactions. It is supposed in the continued identity of Society
throughout successive generation. And it naturally enough follows from the Common
interest, which children have along with their parents, in those objects for which federal
deeds are framed. In this case representation springs, not from choice, as when men
appoint their civil and ecclesiastical functionaries, but from the appointment of God, from
a divinely authorized constitution-a constitution the existence of which is distinctly
recognised when it is said, "Levi paid tithes in Abraham, for he was yet in the loins of his
father when Melchizedec met him. " Here the principle is clearly admitted by God
Q. What is the reason of this continuous obligation of covenants?
A. 1. God will have it so. 2. The permanency of the subject coming under the obligation.
The church and nations are corporations existing and perpetuated in the succession of
generations-one generation passeth away and another cometh — the succeeding coming
into the obligations of the preceding — and God as a party to such deeds always exists. 3.
The sameness of the relation to the moral Governor of the universe. The corporation and
all its members are related God as moral subjects to a rightful sovereign. The duties being
moral to which the covenant binds, by virtue of the moral relation of the corporate society
to the Divine Sovereign in its successive generations, it is bound by the deed. 4.
Obedience to God, according to his law, is a debt which no one generation can fully pay,
and remains to each successive generation the same — hence the covenant obligation must
be continuous. 5. Covenanting is a means of holiness-each successive generation needs to
be sanctified, and consequently each successively needs this instrumentality — hence
covenant obligation is transmitted with the stream of succeeding generations.
Q. Is not the principle of the transmissible nature of the obligation of public social
covenants founded in reason and equity?
A. Yes. "The principle is this, that, when the matter of a covenant is lawful, and the
parties continue to exist, the covenant itself retains its obligation until the object it con-
templates has been gained. Thus a covenant between God and the church or between God
and a nation, continues obligatory long after the original framers of it have been gathered
to their fathers. The object contemplated may be a degree of Reformation hitherto
unattained. The parties, too, must be held as continuing to exist, God the one party being
the eternal God, and the church, or the nation, the other party, continuing in virtue of that
identity which a corporate body possesses. This identity is not affected by the constant
changes society may undergo as regards its individual members, just as the incessant
changes which take place in the particles of the human body have no effect in destroying
the personal identity of the individual."
Q. Is not this principle of the continuously transmissible obligation of covenants highly
advantageous in its tendency?
A. Yes. 1. "It strengthens that sense of gratitude to God by which men are stimulated to
obedience, by leading the children to reflect on his goodness, in having regard to their
welfare in the covenant made with their fathers, and comprehending them in the same
federal transaction. Thus Peter reminds the Jews, Acts iii. 28, "Ye are the children of the
prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers" 2. It inspires confidence
in the promised mercies of God, and affords ground to hope that he who has been
gracious, in times that are past, to the fathers, will be gracious still to their children. Thus
Moses encouraged the people of Israel. Deut. iv. 32: "he will not, forsake thee, neither
destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers, which he sware unto them." 3. It
furnishes a powerful argument in pleading with God at a throne of grace, as we find it
exemplified and confirmed in Jeremiah's expostulation with God concerning the state of
his nation ; xiv 22, "Do not abhor us for thy name's sake; do not disgrace the throne of
thy glory; remember, break not thy covenant with us." 4. It throws a shield over a people
by which the wrath of God is averted. Lev. xxvi. 44, 45: '"Yet for all that,' says the Lord,
' when they lie in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor
them to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them, for I am the Lord their
God. But I will, for their sakes, remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I
brought out of the land of Egypt.'" 5. It is not less fitted to keep up a remembrance of the
wonderful things done by God on behalf of a people, by forming a record of them, and
furnishing a medium for their transmission from generation to generation. Accordingly
we find the command, I Chron. xvi. 12-15, "Remember his marvellous works that he hath
done, his wonders and the judgments of his mouth", connected with the injunction, "Be
ye mindful always of his covenant, the word which he commanded to a thousand
generations." 6. Above al, it is eminently fitted, by begetting a delightful mutual interest
between fathers and children, to promote and display the UNITY of the church. The
fathers, by being required to transact for the children, and the children, by being required
to recognise the deeds of the fathers, must be inspired with a double and most salutary
interest in each other. All selfish and exclusive feeling is in this way rebuked. The present
generation are taught to look back to the past, as the past are supposed to have looked
forward to the future. Distant periods are united, and the interests of different generations
concentrated." Jn. xvii. 11: "Holy Father, keep through thine own name, those whom
thou hast given me, that they may be one as we are. "
Q. Is covenanting a stated and ordinary, or occasional and extraordinary duty?
A. It is occasional and extraordinary.
Q. What are some of the times and seasons in which the church, or a nation, is called on
to engage in this extraordinary yet important duty?
A. They are many and various. 1 . Times of public humiliationybr apostasy from God. Jer.
1. 4, 5. 2. Times of affliction. Neh. ix. 1,38; 2 Chr. xxxiv. 29-32. 3. Times of public
reformation. 2 Kings xxiii. 1 — 3. 4. Times of public thanksgiving for special
delivceances. 2 Kings xi. 17-20; Ps. lxxvi. 11.5. When there is great lukewarmeness and
a tendency to backsliding. Dent. xxix. 10-15. 6. In view of severe conflict with the
enemies of the truth, to consolidate and strengthen the Lord's host. For example -Israel
before crossing the Jordan. Ps. xliv. 3; Heb, xi. 32 — 38. So our Fathers — and now against
the combined "armies of the aliens." Rev. xix. 11. 7. Times of refreshing from the
presence of the Lord. Is. xliv. 3-5. 8. When jealousies and contentions prevail, and there
is a tendency to schism, covenanting will be a happy mode of "binding up the testi-
mony"-which is in danger of being rent by schism.
Q. Are there not reasons forcibly urging the present performance of this duty?
A. Yes. There are many and forcible reasons. 1. The present is a time when reformation
is demanded both in church and state. 2. A time of peculiar temptations to draw back. 3.
A time of misunderstanding and misapprehension among professors. 4. A time when the
faithful performance of the duty may operate as a means :of conviction upon the enemies
of truth. 5. A time of suffering. Neh. ix. 38; 2 Chr. xxxiv. 21, 31, 32. 6. A time in which it
is necessary revive the sense of covenant obligation, which has lamentably declined, and
is very feeble in the hearts of professors.
Q. Has not God, in his providence, given us, in modern times, several interesting
illustrations of this divine ordinance of covenanting?
A. Yes. 1 . The existence of such federal deeds can be distinctly traced in the writings of
Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and others of the early Christian fathers. 2. During the
dark ages, the testimony of the Waldenses and of the Bohemian brethren to the practice
can be easily adduced. 3. In more modern times it is well ascertained to have prevailed in
all the Reformed churches of the continent -in Germany, France, Switzerland, and the
Netherlands (The league of Smalcalde, for example). 4. "The Pilgrim Fathers" employed
this divine ordinance as a means of preserving the privileges of true religion among
themselves, and of conveying them to their posterity. 5. But the examples in which we
take the deepest interest., and in which we have the fullest embodiment of the principle in
question, are those given in the British Isles; viz. The National Covenant of
Scotland, and The solemn League and Covenant of the three kingdoms.
Q. When and by whom was the National Covenant taken, and repeatedly renewed?
A. 1. At Edinburgh, on the 28th of July, 1581, the National Covenant was sworn. The
National Covenant was sworn to by King James VI and his privy council, and soon after
received the sanction of the general assembly of the church. Being cheerfully taken and
subscribed by persons of all ranks throughout the land, under the direction of the
constituted authorities, both civil and religious, it amounted to a Solemn national
surrender of the kingdom to the Lord. 2. Afterwards, in 1590, when the liberties of the
church were threatened by both domestic and foreign invasions, this celebrated bond was
ratified anew, under the direction of two commissions, the one consisting of 96 ministers,
the other of 130 of the nobility and gentry, who were authorized to obtain subscriptions;
and with such success was this business executed, under the good favour of God, that in
two years thereafter, an act, ratifying the liberties of the church, and settling the
Presbyterian church government in Scotland, was obtained from the king and parliament.
3. This covenant, with some additional clauses, was sworn to with great unanimity and
effect at the commencement of the second reformation, in 1638, "a step which was loudly
called for by the insidious attempt then made to impose, by royal authority, the Book of
Ecclesiastical Canons, and thus to blot out every vestige of the reformed religion and
discipline from the land."
Q. What was the substance of this interesting deed?
A. This deed formally abjured all the corruptions of the Popish system; expressed
unequivocal attachment to the Confession of Faith, which, indeed, it comprehended; and
embodied a clause in which the covenanters called upon God to witness the sincerity of
their hearts in the solemn transaction.
Q. What was the occasion of the Solemn League and Covenant?
A. It was occasioned by the struggle maintained by an arbitrary and Popishly affected
court against the friends of reformation and liberty in the British Isles.
Q. When was this celebrated deed prepared and taken?
A. 1 . It was prepared by Alexander Henderson, received the approbation of the general
assembly and the convention of estates, and was cordially subscribed by all persons of all
ranks in Scotland, in the year 1643. 2. Having been deliberately examined by the
venerable assembly of divines at Westminster, it was solemnly sworn in the church of St
Margaret's Westminster by both houses of parliament, by the, assembly of divines, and
by persons of different ranks generally throughout England. 3. In Ireland, too, it. was
joyfully received by many of the Protestant population in the south, and by almost the
whole body in the north; although, from the distracted state of things in that country, it
could not possibly obtain the same legislative sanction as in the other two kingdoms. 4.
This deed was formally and repeatedly ratified by parliament especially in 1644 and '49;
and solemnly taken and subscribed by Charles II, both at Spey in 1650, and at Scoon in
1651, however perfidiously dealt by afterwards on the part of that royal hypocrite and
Q. What were the main objects of this famous deed?
A. These were "the preservation of the reformed religion in Scotland, and the reformation
of religion in England and Ireland, and the bringing of the churches in the three kingdoms
to the nearest conformity, in doctrine, worship, discipline, and government." The
Covenanters bound themselves also to preserve the civil ruler's "just power and
authority," in the preservation and defence of the true religion and liberties of the
Q. Is not, the second article of this instrument, in which it is said, " We shall endeavour
the extirpation of Popery, prelacy, superstition, heresy, schism, profaneness, and
whatsoever shall be found contrary to sound doctrine and the power of godliness,"
chargeable with asserting persecuting principles?
A. There is nothing here which savours of persecution. There are certainly various
methods of rooting out errors besides the anti-Christian one of putting to death the
persons who hold them. "The clause makes no mention of persons, but of principles, as
the subjects of extirpation; and surely to use all lawful means of ridding the world of such
false and abominable evils as are there enumerated was not only innocent but
praiseworthy. The heresies, not the heretics, were what the Covenanters had in view in
the article in question".
Q. Were not the Covenants enforced by "civil pains? "
A. This charge is founded upon the Act of Parliament, 1640, enjoining the subscription of
the National Covenant. To this it is answered: 1. "This is no objection to the Covenants as
such, but to those who, in an imprudent manner, undertook to promote their ends. 2.
There is no evidence to prove that the subscription was not voluntary; but persons who
had the best opportunities of knowing; have declared that 'no threatenings were used,
except of the deserved judgments of God, and no force except the force of reason.' 3.
Liberty to subscribe was withheld in the case of some, till there should be time to try their
sincerity, and to prove that they acted from love to the cause, and not from the fear of
maul. 4. Besides it ought to be borne in mind that these instruments have a civil, its well
its religious object; and that, although the latter might not warrant the infliction of "civil
pains," the same restrictions did not apply to the former, and they ought, in candour, to be
judged of in this complex character in which they were framed, enacted, sworn, and pro-
moted. 5. Moreover, there is good reason to think that all that this vexed and startling
phrase in the act in question was ever intruded to provide for was, that the covenants
should be employed as tests of qualification for office, or proof of the candidate's
attachment to the Reformation. Exclusion from places of power and trust, it is believed, is
all that can be proved ever to have been inflicted under this obnoxious act. The phrase,
"under all civil pains, " when taken literally, and viewed by itself, may be deemed
formidable looking enough, and calculated to call up, in the imaginations of the timid and
the weak, the frightful ideas of fines, confiscations, imprisonments, executions, and
similar "chimeras dire ;" but when fairly interpreted, by the light of history, it dwindles
very innocently into-"«o seat in parliament. " 6. This is perfectly in conformity with the
principle and practice of Israel's best king. Ps. lxxv. 10. "All the horns of the wicked also
will I cut off; but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted" The horn is the symbol of
civil power. David cut off the borne, but not the heads, of the wicked. He deprives them
of civil authority, and conferred office upon the righteous only ; for " the wicked (was his
experience) walk on every side when the vilest men are exalted?" And such is the
doctrine of the covenanter.
Q. Is it not a valid objection to these deeds that, they improperly blend civil and religious
A. "The cause in which the covenanters were embarked, the enemies by whom they were
opposed, and the dangers by which they were surrounded, were of both kinds. They were
necessitated, therefore, to frame their measures with a view to the removal of evils, and
the accomplishment of ends, both of a religions and political character; they had to have
respect at once to the interests of the church, and those of the civil community"
Q. Was not the taking of the covenants a most deliberate, solemn, and sublime
A. Truly so. "Nothing could exceed the affecting solemnity with which the national
covenant was renewed in 1638; the powerful and pertinent prayer of Henderson; the
impressive speech of Loudon ; the reading of the document 'out of fair parchment' by
Johnston; the death-like silence of the people that ensued; the sensation produced when
the venerable earl of Sutherland stepped forward and appended his name first to the
memorable deed; the rapidity with which it, afterwards circulated round the church to
receive subscriptions; the eagerness with which they crowded round it, for the same
purpose, when it was spread out like a prophet's roll on flat grave-stones in the church-
yard ; the mingled expressions of joy and sorrow that rose from the crowd-joy at what the
Lord had wrought, sorrow for personal and national sins; the shouts, the groans, the tears
which succeeded ; and above all the forest of right hands simultaneously uplifted in awful
appeal to the searcher of hearts! These all bespeak deliberation as well as determination.
Well might Henderson exclaim, 'This was the day of the Lord's power, wherein he saw
his people most willingly offer themselves in multitudes like the dew-drops of the
morning.' The great day of Israel, wherein the arm of the Lord was revealed; the day of
the Redeemer's strength, on which the princes of the people assembled to swear
allegiance to the king of kings-great, great was the day of Jezreel."
Q. Was not the influence of Chose covenants highly beneficial?
A. Yes. God smiled on the work, and by the outpouring of his spirit gave the testimony of
the divine approbation. Religion prospered, and the schemes of enemies were
overthrown. 'Now,' said the Archbishop of St. Andrews, when he heard of the renovation
of the national covenant, 'now all that we have been doing these thirty years past is
thrown down at once.' 'The Lord,' says the author of the Fulfilling of the Scriptures, 'the
Lord did let forth much of the spirit on his people when this nation did solemnly enter
into covenant in the year 1638.' Many yet alive do know how their hearts were wrought
on by the Lord. The ordinances were lively and longed after. Then did the nation own the
Lord, and was visibly owned by him; much zeal and an enlarged heart did appear for the
public cause; personal application was seriously set about; and then also was there a
remarkable call of providence that did attend the actings of his people, which did astonish
their adversaries, and forced many of them to feign subjection.' 'To what,' adds Paxton,
'to what must our great and lasting prosperity be owing? We believe it has been greatly
owing to the covenants of our fathers, to which a faithful and gracious God has hitherto
had respect. It was not the ocean that surrounds us ; it was not the number and prowess of
our fleets and armies, nor the wisdom of our councils (when invasion was threatened) but
the sword of the Lord, and the buckler of his favour that saved us.' Thus has God
conferred a Moral sublimity and wondrous prosperity upon the nations that bound
themselves in these sacred bonds — covenants not to be forgotten. '
Q. Are not these covenants still obligatory upon the British Isles?
A. Yes. "The matter of these covenants, we have seen, was lawful, scriptural, reasonable;
the objects contemplated by them all will admit, have not yet been attained, namely, the
complete reformation of these lands, the extirpation of every anti-Christian and false
system, and uniformity in doctrine, discipline, and government throughout the three
kingdoms. The parties also still contiuue-the eternal and uncchangeable God on the one
hand, and the British nation on the other. Nations having a moral and even religious
character, it must be admitted, are competent to enter into such solemn engagements; and
those of which we speak were in every point of view national deeds ; they were framed
and concluded by the representatives of the kingdom; they were taken by the call and
authority of those in power; they were sworn in a public capacity; they were ratified and
confirmed by public legislative acts; the public faith was plighted by all the organs
through which a nation is accustomed to express its mind and will. Sanctions less sacred ;
pledges less numerous and formal would have entitled another nation to demand from
Britain the fulfilment of any treaty or contract; and shall not God who was not only a
witness, but a party, nay, the principal party in these transactions, and whose honour and
interests were immediately concerned, be regarded as having a claim to see that the
stipulations are fulfilled?" "The identify of a nation" says the venerable biographer of
two most distinguished covenanters, "the identity of a nation, as existing through
different ages, is, in all moral respects, as real as the identity of an individual through the
whole period of his life. The individuals that compose it, like the particles of matter in the
human body, pass away, and are succeeded by others, but the body politic continues
essentially the same. IF BRITAIN CONTRACTED A MORAL OBLIGATION IN
VIRTUE OF A SOLEMN NATIONAL COVENANT FOR RELIGIOUS
REFORMATION, THAT OBLIGATION MUST ATTACH TO HER UNTIL IT HAS
BEEN DISCHARGED. Have the pledges given by the nation been yet redeemed? Do not
the principal stipulations in the covenant remain unfulfilled at this day? Are we not a
people still bound by that engagement to see these things done? Has the lapse of time
cancelled the bond? Or will a change of sentiments and views set us free from its tie? Is it
not the duty of all the friends of the reformation to endeavour to keep alive a sense of this
obligation on the public mind? But although all ranks and classes in the nation should
lose impressions of it, and although there should not be a single religious denomination,
nor even a single individual in the land to remind them of it, will it not be held in
remembrance by ONE, with which a thousand years are as one day, and one day as a
thousand years ?"
Q. Does not great guilt rest upon the British nation for its treatment of these covenants,
and for the blood of the covenanters?
A. Yes. A fearful weight of guilt. "It is matter of history, that after the restoration of
Charles II., who himself had solemnly sworn these vows, acts were passed denouncing as
treasonable and rebellious all the proceedings of the Second Reformation, rescinding all
the public securities given during that period, stigmatizing the covenant as unlawful
oaths, absolving men from their obligation, and declaring all laws passed in their favour
to be null and void. It is also a well known fact, that under royal authority, the covenants
were publicly burned by the hands or the common hangman, at London, in 1661, at
Linlithgow the year following, and afterwards at Edinburgh. It is painful to be obliged to
record, that, at the revolution in 1688, which extinguished the fires of persecution
(consuming the adherents of the covenant), and put an end to the tyrannous rule of the
Stuarts, nothing whatever was done, either by church or state, to make reparation for
these atrocious indignities"-and the blood of the covenanters, which still stains the throne
and nation. Now, when we consider that "one of the heaviest charges ever brought
against the people of Israel was on this ground; they kept not the covenant of the Lord,
and refused to walk in his law. For their heart was not right with him, neither were they
steadfast in his covenant"-and the solemn declaration of the prophet of old, " I have been
very jealous for the Lord of hosts, because the children of Israel have broken thy
covenant.'' '-and God's own complaint, "The house of Israel, and the house of Judah, have
broken my covenant which I made with their fathers"-how does it become the inhabitants
of that covenant breaking land to ponder these words of Jehovah, If ye will not be
reformed by me, but will walk contrary unto me; then will I walk contrary unto you, and
will punish you yet seven times for your sins; AND I WILL BRING A SWORD UPON
YOU THAT SHALL AVENGE THE QUARREL OF MY COVENANT. Wherefore hath
the Lord done thus unto this land? What meaneth the heat of this great anger! Then shall
men say, BECAUSE THEY HAVE FORSAKEN THE COVENANT OF THE, LORD
GOD OF THEIR FATHERS. Lev. xxvi. 23-25; Deut. xxix. 24, 25.
Q. May we not indulge the hope, that, in the goodness of our covenant God, and by the
promised outpouring of his Holy Spirit, "the kingdoms of the world" at large, and the
British empire in particular, will dedicate themselves to God in a covenant not to be
forgotten-animated by the example of our covenant fathers exhibited in these memorable
A. Yes. We have the most cheering grounds for this blessed hope; for it is written, that
the nations at large in the spirit of devoted loyalty, shall cry-COME AND LET US JOIN
OURSELVES TO THE LORD IN A PERPETUAL COVENANT, THAT SHALL NOT
BE FORGOTTEN: and it cannot be well doubted, that the death-cry of the martyred
Guthrie has been heard on high, and shall be venfied-THE COVENANTS, THE
COVENANTS, SHALL YET BE SCOTLAND'S REVIVING.
On the Application of these Principles to the Governments, where
Reformed Presbyterians reside, in the form of a Practical Testimony.
Q. Under the government of what nations do Reformed Presbyterians reside?
A. They reside within the jurisdiction of the governments of the United States and Great
Q. Is the government of the United States, a government to which they yield allegiance,
being in its constitution and administration the ordinance of God?
A. They do not yield allegiance to the government of the United States, but claim and
exercise the right of dissent from its constitution, as an instrument of government having
no claims to the dignity of being the Ordinance of God; but as immoral, and hostile to the
kingdom of Jesus Christ.
Q. Upon what grounds do they state their dissent from the constitution of the United
A. In their testimony entitled "Reformation Principles" they declare, "There are moral
evils essential to the constitution of the United States, which render it necessary to refuse
allegiance to the whole system. In this remarkable instrument there is contained no
acknowledgment of the being or authority of God. There is no acknowledgment of the
Christian religion, or professed submission to the kingdom of the Messiah. It gives
support to the enemies of the Redeemer, and admits to its honours and emoluments, Jews,
Mohametans, Deists, and Atheists. It establishes the system of robbery, by which men are
held in slavery, despoiled of liberty, and property, and protection. It violates the
principles of representation, by bestowing upon the domestic tyrant who holds hundreds
of his fellow creatures in bondage all influence in making laws for freemen proportioned
to the number of his own slaves. This constitution is, notwithstanding its numerous
excellences, in many instances inconsistent, oppressive, and impious". Part I. p. 152.
Q. Is it indeed true, that this famous Constitution does not recognise the being or
authority of God, or the regal authority of Jesus Christ, "the prince of the kings of the
A. It does not. If it did, the acknowledgment would be found in the preamble, which is as
follows: --"We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union,
establish justice, ensure domestic tranquillity, provide for the Common defence, promote
the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do
ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America."
Q. Is there any recognition of the being and authority of God and his Christ in this part of
this important instrument!
A. There is evidently not. The supreme authority is evidently that only of WE THE
PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES; God and his Christ are not mentioned, nor the
mediatorial supremacy recognised.
Q. But is not the being and authority of God recognised in the oath of office required of
the President of the United , State- in the words, " I do solemnly swear (or affirm), that I
will faithfully execute the office of President Of the United States," &c?
A. Not necessarily of the True God. Because, 1. We learn from a member of the
convention that framed the constitution, Luther MARTIN, delegate from Maryland, that
the subject was debated in the convention, and the recognition refused. "The part of the
system which requires that 'no religious test' shall ever be required as a qualification of
any Office or public trust under the United States, was adopted by a great majority of the
convention, and without much debate. However, there were some members so
unfashionable as to think that a belief of the existence of a deity and of a state of future
rewards and punishments, would be some Security for the good conduct of our rulers, and
that, in a Christian country it would be, at least, decent to hold out some distinction
between the professors of Christianity, and downright infidelity and Paganism." -
Genuine Information p. 87. From this information it appears that the president may be all
Atheist, according to the constitution, and the oath of office is, therefore, not a
recognition of the being of a God, as his name is not mentioned in the form of the oath,
and it contains no appeal to Him. 2. The Heathen swore by their gods, but this was not a
recognition OF GOD; nor is he pleased with such service. Jer. v. 7. " How shall I pardon
thee for this? Thy children have forsaken me and sworn by them that are no gods. "3. As
it was evidently intended that Atheists might hold office, by what God would they swear,
who deity the existence of a Deity, and a future state of rewards and punishments"
Q. Does not the constitution recognise the Christian religion, and express its subjection to
the kingdom of the Messiah?
A. It evidently does not. 1. From the above testimony of Luther Martin, that it was
designed to hold out "no distinction between the professors of Christianity and downright
infidelity and Paganism. " 2. From the 2d Sec. of Art. 6 in which it is declareed "This
constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof,
and all TREATIES made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United
States, SHALL BE THE SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND:' In the treaty with
"TRIPOLI, Islam is declared to be as much the religion of this nation as Christianity.
"The Government," says this "supreme law, " "of the United States IS NOT IN ANY
SENSE FOUNDED ON THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION. It has in itself no character of
enmity against the laws or religion of Muslims. "-U. S. Laws, Vol. 4, Trip. Treat. Art. 2.
Christianity-the laws of the Bible, are in no sense an element of the constitution. The
supreme law is, the WILL of WE THE PEOPLE, expressed in the constitution, laws, and
treaties with foreign powers. The nation, as such, is INFIDEL. Yea, it is a nation without
a God. Is. Ix. 12. And the "justice " which they would " establish," is not that which is
founded upon that attribute of God, but that only which the will of "we the people" shall
determine to be justice.
Q. Does the constitution give support to the enemies of the Redeemer, and admit to its
honours and emoluments those who are adverse to his authority, religion, and laws, even
Muslims, Deists and Atheists?
A. This is manifestly so; as a supreme law declares it is not in any sense founded on the
religion of the Bible, and refuses, as a qualification for office, that the office-bearer
should believe in the existence of a Deity, or a future state of rewards and punishments;
as a consequence, infidels have occupied, and Atheists may occupy the highest seat in the
gift oiwe the people. In contrast, the scriptures require, He that ruleth over men must be
just RULING IN THE FEAR OF THE LORD.
Q. IS the Constitution of the United States a pro-slavery instrument?
A. Yes. It establishes that system of ROBBERY by which men are held in slavery, and
despoiled of liberty and property.
Q. Is not this view of that instrument zealously disputed, and is it not attempted to be
proved a strongly Anti-slavery document?
A. Yes. By a false and sophistical scheme of interpretation, an attempt is made to free the
constitution from the guilt of being, in its true import, a slave-holding instrument.
Q. What are the legitimate rules of interpretation, by the application of which, the true
import of a disputed document may be correctly ascertained?
A. The following are laid down by logicians and legitimate rules of interpretation. 1.
"Whatever is obscure or doubtfill in a covenant should be interpreted by the intention of
the parties. If the intention of the parties does not appear from the words of the covenant,
it should be inferred from the existing customs and usages of the place, in which it was
made. If the words of the Covenant contradict the well known intention of the parties, this
intention must be regarded rather than the words. " 2. "When former interpreters are
appealed to, in order to establish the sense of an ancient writing, those, caeteris paribus,
should he preferred, who Were nearest the author, in time or place, as his children,
pupils, correspondents, or countrymen; and who had, therefore, better advantages for
knowing his mind than more distant commentators: -Hedges Logic, p. 16.07. By the
application of these established rules of interpretation to the constitution, we will be able
to ascertain its real character.
Q. Does not the preamble to the constitution, in which it is stated that the object of the
instrument is to establish justice and secure the blessings of liberty to "we the people"
and their "posterity," prove the anti-slavery character of 'the instrument?
A. By no means. The import of the preamble depends upon the just meaning to be
attached to the phrase "We the people, " which cannot be justly interpreted as signifying
any other than the free inhabitants of the land at the time the constitution was penned.
Q. Have you any proof that the slaves were not included in the phrase "We the people? "
A. Yes. Conclusive proof. 1 . The people who ordained and established the constitution to
Secure the blessings of liberty to themselves and posterity, were the same who were
bound together by the feeble bonds of the old "articles of confederation," which expressly
declare, Art. iv., Sec. 1, "That the FREE INHABITANTS shall be entitled to the
immunities of free citizens in the several states." Therefore citizens of the several states
were united by the ties of the confederation and these, finding those articles but " a rope
of sand" to hold them together-and these only constitute WE THE PEOPLE, who
ordained and established the constitution, to form a more perfect union, not with the
slaves, but among themselves, as the free citizens; and to secure, not for the slaves, whom
they then, and afterwards held in bondage, but for themselves and their posterity, as then
free, the blessings of liberty. 2. Not a slave had A VOTE (the prerogative of freemen), or
cast a vote in the election of delegates to the convention which framed the constitution.
That they so voted must be proved before they can be embraced in the phrase we the
people. 3. Not a slave had the privilege of voting, or cast a vote in the election of
delegates to the thirteen state conventions that adopted the constitution as the expression
of the sovereign will o/WE THE PEOPLE. This also must be proved in the affirmative,
before the slaves can be included in the pompous phrase. 4. The inference is irresistible.
That the free inhabitants of the land are we the people; and it is not a constitution to
secure the liberties of the slave, but of the already free, whilst it rivets the Chains of the
bondman. 5. When the constitution was ordained, and started on its career in the
inauguration of Washington as the first president, the president himself was, at the time,
a slaveholder and the groans and clanking of the chains of half million of slaves mingled
with the notes of the trumpet, the roar of artillery, and the shouts of "We the people " on
that stupendous occasion! What a splendid mockery of justice and liberty!
Q. Have you any further proof of the pro-slavery character of this celebrated instrument?
A. Yes. Abundant. The first I adduce is Art. i. Sec 2. "Representatives and direct taxation
Shall he apportioned among the Several states, which may be included within this union,
according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole
number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and
excluding Indians not taxed, three -fifths of all other persons. "
Q. Upon what in this passage does the argument hinge?
A. It hinges upon the just construction of the phrase, "three fifths of all other persons. "
Q. Is it not a just construction of this clause to represent it as signifying women, aliens ,
paupers, the tenants of almshouses, vagrants, etc. ; for those who would evade its true
import are not agreed upon a specific meaning?
A. All these constructions are illegitimate. 1. Women, aliens, and paupers are free
persons, and are embraced in the census of population. 2. The phrase is not in the least
ambiguous. It is as plain as any circumlocution call be. Take it in connexion with its
context, and the laws of philological construction compel us to adopt the term slaves as
the only logical interpretation, and the true synonym of the phrase "all other persons:" for
who are the opposite of "the whole number of free persons," but those who are not free,
namely, SLAVES? This stands nearest in the opposition to free persons, and legitimate
construction constrains us to adopt the term. 3. This has been the uniform construction
since the constitution went into operation, and sustained by this clause the slave-holding
states have twenty-five representatives in Congress, based upon their slave population,
more than they would be entitled to upon the basis of their free population
Q. Have you any respectable authority in proof of this interpretation of the disputed
A. Yes; highly respectable. Bayard in his "Exposition of the Constitution" confirms this
interpretation as the original intention of the clause. "In settling the ratio of
representation, another difficulty arose, respecting the slaves who form so large a portion
of the inhabitants of some of the states. To compute them among the numbers
represented would be giving them an importance to which their character did not entitle
them ; or, rather, would be introducing a representation of property, contrary to the
general tenor of the constitution ; to omit them altogether in the computation would be to
reduce the influence of the Southern States in a manner to which they would never
consent. As a medium between these, it is agreed that five slaves should be accounted as
three citizens, in arranging the representation, and the apportionment computed
accordingly. "-P. 150.
Q. Have you any additional proof that this was the design of the clause when enacted and
adopted as the supreme law of the land?
A. Yes. Luther Martin, a member of the convention that framed the constitution, and who
therefore was fully possessed of its design, fully confirms the interpretation. "With
respect to that part of the first article which relates to the apportionment of representation
and direct taxation, there were considerable objections made to it, besides the great
objection of inequality. It was urged that no principle could justify taking slaves into
computation in apportioning the number of representatives a state should have in the
government. That it involved the absurdity of increasing the power of a state in making
laws for freemen in proportion its that state violated the rights of freedom". Slaves, then,
were the persons designed by the phrase "three-fifths of all other persons." Thus the
constitution " violates the principle of representation, by bestowing upon the domestic
tyrant who holds hundreds of his fellow creatures in bondage, an influence in making
laws for freemen proportioned to the number of his own slaves."
Q. Was such the understanding of the STATE CONVENTIONS which adopted the
A. Yes. Alexander Hamilton, a delegate from New York to the convention that framed
the constitution, and the only member from New York that signed it when completed,
thus urges its adoption in the New York Convention: "The first thing objected to is the
clause (three-fifths of all other persons) that allows a representation of three fifths of the
negroes. Much has been said of the impropriety of representing men who have no will of
their own : whether that is reasoning or declamation. I will not presume to say. It is the
unfortunate situation of the Southern States to have a great part of their population as
well as property in blacks. The regulation complained of was one result of the spirit of
accommodation which governed the convention and without this indulgence no union
could have been formed. But sir, considering some of the peculiar advantages which we
derived from them, it is entirely just they should be gratified. The Southern Slates possess
certain staples — tobacco, rice, indigo, &c, which must be Capital objects in treaties of
commerce with foreign nations; and the advantages which they necessarily procure in
these treaties will be felt throughout the United States. " Thus the spirit of compromise
has erected SLAVERY a column to sustain the union of these states, and this column has
for its impediment the United States Constitution ! Hamilton certainly understood the
meaning and intention of the clause "all other persons." His interpretation is three fifths
of the negroes! Yes commercial speculation drowned in the bosom, even of an
ALEXANDER HAMILTON, the sense of justice, and he and his compatriots did not
hesitate to barter liberty for gold, and to strengthen and cement the union by the bondage
and blood of the negro!
Q. Does not the venerable JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, contemporary with the framing,
adoption, and administration of the constitution, confirm this interpretation?
A. Yes, fully. In his report, in the House of representatives, on the Massachusetts
resolution, he thus comments on this clause: " In outward show it is a representation of
PERSONS IN BONDAGE; in fact it is a representation of their masters-the oppressor
representing the oppressed. "- "Is it in the compass of human imagination to devise a
more perfect exemplification of the act of committing the lamb to the tender custody of
the wolf "-"The representative is thus constituted, not the friend, agent, and trustee of the
person whom he represents, but the most inveterate of his foes" — "If there be a parallel to
it in human history, it can only be that of the Roman Emperors, who, from the days when
Julius Caesar substituted a military despotism in the place of a republic, among the
offices which they always concentrated upon themselves, was that of the tribune of the
people. A Roman Emperor, Tribune of the people, is an exact parallel to that feature in
the Constitution of the United States which MAKES THE MASTER THE
REPRESENTATIVE OF THE SLAVE." In the light of these contemporaneous
expositions, we cannot in the exercise of sound judgment for one moment hold the clause
under consideration as in the least ambiguous, but so well defined, understood, and so
fully practised upon, that, a power has been reared legitimately upon it which overtops all
other powers, and threatens the enslaving or destruction of the union. "Its reciprocal
operation upon the government of the nation is, to establish an artificial majority in the
slave representation over that of the free people, in the American Congress, and thereby
to make the preservation, propagation, and perpetuation of slavery the VITAL AND
ANIMATING SPIRIT OF THE NATIONAL OOVERNMENT.
--Adams 's Report.
Q. May we not array one part of the instrument against the other, the good parts, for
example, against the bad, for the nullification of the hater?
A. By no means. It must be received as a whole and in all its parts. Neither can we
separate the good from the bad-they are so interwoven that they must stand or fall
together. We cannot construe it as wholly in favour of liberty; this would be to falsify the
instrument. It is a compact in compromise with the slaveholder. He claims his part of the
bond, and, if we sustain the instrument WE MUST YIELD HIM HIS POUND OF
FLESH, DRAW BLOOD WHERE IT MAY. It is, moreover, fearfully consistent with
itself, liberty for "the whole number of free people," bondage and degradation for "all
other persons"— The WRETCHED NEGRO SLAVES.
Q. What other proof have you of the pro-slavery character of the Constitution of the
A. A conclusive argument is found in Art. i., Sec. ix. "The migration or importation of
such persons as any of the States now existing may think proper to admit, shall not be
prohibited by Congress prior to the year 1 808, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such
importation not exceeding ten dollars for each person."
Q. What evidence is there that slaves are intended by the phrase "such persons" in this
A There is abundant evidence which cannot be fully gainsaid, because fully exhibiting
the original design of this degrading clause.
Q. Are slaves, indeed, viewed as "persons" according'to the letter and spirit of this
A. American slavery, it is fully admitted, is all that the laws of the States declare it to be.
The slave is "a chattel personal" in the hands of his owner; goods, a merchantable thing;
yet, though marketable as a beast, and sold in the shambles as property, all this does not
deny him to be a prisoner; not free and independent, yet "an individual human being
consisting of soul and body," yea, "a man, woman, or child, as opposed to things, or
distinct from them. " But a man, woman, or child, held as the property of another man,
woman, or child, as the case may be. The slaveholder still views the slave as a human
being, and will call it his MAN. POMP OR CUFFY, his BOY Harry, his WOMAN
Dianna or his GIRL Milinda. Take two advertisements as an example: 1 . "FOR SALE —
Dick Morgan, a very honest, trusty servant, has acted as a porter in a grocery store for
several years, and SPEAKS French and English" 2. "Robert - possesses a first rate
character in every respect". These slaves are considered as men skilled in various
employments requiring intellect, "souls " so as to understand them; endowed with the gift
of speech, and susceptible of moral culture, so as to be honest and to possess character.
Now, who ever advertised a horse for sale as honest, a porter in a grocer store, and
possessing a first rate character in all respects, and speaking the French and English
languages? Negroes are viewed by slaveholders themselves as persons held as property.
His personality is not destroyed, but his personal control as a "free person " is wrested
and retained from him. He is considered a person as represented in Congress by his
master; he is property as sold in the shambles: they are persons in the condition of
Q. What is the testimony of Bayard as an expositor of the constitution, as it respects the
fact that slaves are solely intended by this clause of that instrument?
A. Bayard thus expounds the clause. Illustrating the limitation in the constitution of the
powers of Congress, he remarks "The first exception of this kind is that by which
Congress is forbidden to prohibit the migration or importation of such persons as any of
the existing states should think proper to admit prior to the year 1808." The word 'slaves '
is never mentioned in the constitution; the same sensibility on that subject then, as now,
in the southern portion of the Union; but some of the politicians of that day thought the
introduction of that unfortunate class, essential to the prosperity, if not to the existence of
the southern states; and therefore would not consent to allow Congress to exercise the
right they would otherwise possess, under time general power of regulating commerce, to
put an immediate end to this inhuman traffic. The result was a compromise by which the
power of Congress was restricted for a limited period."
This is the language of an expositor of the constitution, who I learn from his
advertisement to the second edition of his commentary, from which I quote, received by
letter approbation "Chief Justice Marshall, Judge Story, chancellor Kent, and other
distinguished jurists. " Now, what is the construction ratified by these distinguished
jurists? Simply, the clause relating to slaves, and slaves only; and manifestly authorizes
and sanctions the inhuman traffic in slaves for 20 years. This is obvious upon the least
consideration. Without this clause Congress had and would have exercised the right to
put an end to the African slave trade, as far as this country was concerned. But the WILL
of we the sovereign PEOPLE expressed in the constitution restrained Congress in the
execution of this noble deed for 20 years. Therefore the will of "we the people" expressed
in the constitution SANCTIONED the FOREIGN SLAVE TRADE during that period. If
they prevented its destruction by their will, which otherwise could or would have taken
place, their will sustained the barbarous traffic.
Q. What is the testimony of Luther MARTIN upon this point?
A. His testimony upon this clause, as a member of the convention that framed the
constitution, is as follows: "the design of this clause is to PREVENT THE GENERAL
GOVERNMENT FROM PROHIBITING THE IMPORTATION OF SLAVES but the
same reasons which induced them to strike out the word 'national,' and not admit the
word 'Stamps,' influenced them here to guard against the word 'slaves'. They anxiously
sought to avoid the admission of expressions which might seem odious in the ears of
Americans; although they were willing to admit into their system THOSE THINGS
which the expressions signified."
Q. What is the history of the celebrated compromise upon the subject of slavery, between
the Northern and Southern States, which was adopted in the convention that framed the
A. Luther MARTIN gives the history of that odious transaction in the following words:
"The clause," the one under consideration, "was the subject of great diversity of
sentiment in the convention; as the system was reported by the committee of detail the
provision was general, that such importation SHOULD NOT BE PROHIBITED without
confining it to any particular period. This was rejected by eight states — Georgia, South
Carolina, and, I think, North Carolina voting for it. "
'We were then told by the delegates of the two first of those states, that their
states would never agree to a system which put it in the power of the general government
TO PREVENT THE IMPORTATION OF SLAVES, and that they, as delegates from
those states, must withhold their assent form such a system. "
"A committee of one member from each state was chosen by ballot, to take this
part of the system under consideration, and to endeavour to agree upon some report,
which would RECONCILE those states. This committee, of which I also had the honour
to be a member, met and took under their consideration the subject committed to them. I
found the Eastern States, notwithstanding their aversion to slavery, were willing to
indulge the Southern Staten, at least with a temporary liberty, to prosecute the slave-
trade, provided the Southern States would gratify them in laying no restriction upon
Navigation Acts; and after a very little time the committee, by a great majority agreed on
a report by which the general government was to BE PROHIBITED FROM
PREVENTING THE IMPORTATION OF SALVES FOR A LIMITED PERIOD, and the
restrictive clause to navigation acts was to be omitted. This report was adopted by a
majority of the convention."
Q. What is the point of this testimony of LUTHER MARTIN ?
A. The point is this. That most infamous traffic, the slave-trade, was guaranteed by the
constitution of the general government from 1787 until 1808, a period of more than 20
years. This was the direct and special design of this clause. In vain do men assert "it is a
mere prohibitory clause, it authorises nothing." What, if I by all oral, and especially by a
written expression, of my will, prevent the prohibition of a certain practice, do I not
thereby SANCTION that evil practice, and doubly so when by so doing I annul
a right possessed by my agent to prohibit that practice? No man can rid himself of this
The United States, government had the grant of the power to regulate the entire
commerce of the Union already conferred upon the congress, by which Congress would
have had the right to abolish the slave-trade. This was torn from the hand of Congress by
the nefarious deed, the compromise, enacted, as the will of "we the people" in this clause.
Citizens of the United States, look at your own deed recorded in your national
Constitution! "WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES 'ORDAINED' AND
ESTABLISHED AS A CONSTITUTIONAL AND SUPREME LAW, THE
PREVENTION OF THE PROHIBITION OR EVEN RESTRICTION OF THE MOST
INFAMOUS TRAFFIC THAT EVER DISGRACED THE WORLD, THE AFRICAN
SLAVE-TRADE, AND THEREBY GAVE THE SANCTION OF OUR HIGH
AUTHORITY TO ROBBERY AND PIRACY FOR 20 YEARS!"
Q. What is the testimony of the venerable James Madison as to the meaning of this
A. James Madison, Fourth President of the United States, and Member of the Convention
that framed the Constitution testifies in the debates in the Virginia Convention but
adopted it-thus testifies to its true import. "The Southern States" (says Mr. M. upon this
clause) would not have entered into the Union of America without the temporary
permission of that trade (the slave-trade). The gentlemen from South Carolina and
Georgia argued in this manner: "We have now liberty to import this species of property,
and much of the property now possessed, has been purchased or otherwise acquired in
contemplation of improving it BY THE ASSISTANCE OF IMPORTED SLAVES. What
would be, the consequences of hindering us from it? The slaves of Virginia would rise in
value and we should be obliged to go to your market. " Was there ever wickedness like
this! To gratify the cupidity of a few Southern planters, a nation stoops to decree the
"mischief of the slave-trade, by a national Constitutional "law." To grant "the temporary
permission of that trade." In vain will men reiterate the cry that the word "slave" is not in
the Constitution, and therefore it is innocent of the guilt of slavery. The thing is there.
The eyes of Omniscience are not blinded by the specious drapery of style with which
crafty men may seek to disguise 'iniquity' in their recorded deeds. Yea, the veil is too
thin to hide this iniquity from the eyes of the righteous man, when he opens his eyes upon
it. He sees with the eloquent coloured man, that 'slavery was in the understanding that
framed the Constitution. Slavery is in the will that executes it. '"
Q. Does not the Act of Congress, 1808, enacted for the abolition of the slave trade,
according to this clause, prove clearly that slaves only were meant by it?
A. Most conclusively. It was enacted to abolish the slave trade, which had been
temporarily permitted by this clause of the constitution, and could not be restrained or
prohibited until 1 808, and which was, until this date, under the protection of the United
States flag, in virtue of this guarantee of the constitution prosecuted with the utmost
vigor; and thousands of African slaves were imported, and many of them, with their
descendents still groan in bondage, the chains of which have been riveted by the U. S.
Q. Is there any other proof that the constitution sanctions slavery?
A. Yes. I adduce as another conclusive argument, Art. 4, sec. 2, 3: "No person held to
service or labour in one state, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in
consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labour;
but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labour may be
Q. Are slaves the "persons" here intended?
A. Yes. The slave, it has been already Clearly shown, is esteemed both as "a person" and
property; a person, when he can advance the dignity and augment the power of is master;
property, when he can be subservient to the insatiable cupidity of his owner.
Q. Does the term "service " in this clause cover the office of slaves?
A. Yes. -The first meaning of service is "menial office." "Menial" signifies "belonging to
the train of servants." Now, the term "servants" is a familiar term by which Southern men
designate their slaves. They are sensitive, as Bayard declares, to the word "slave, " and
hence avoided the use of the term in the constitution. Ill proof that "xerrpurtls, " in
Southern states, mean "slaves ; " that these are there convertible terms, take the following
advertisement: -"Valuable SERVANTS FOR SALE at auction, by Isaac L.McCoY. This
day, Thursday, 27th instant, at 12 o'clock, at the Exchange Coffee House, will be SOLD,
34 valuable SERVANTS."-(Anti-S. Alan., p. 102.) Now, the term service expresses the
MENIAL office of a train servants; which whole train, amounting to 34, or any number,
may he sold at auction, in the shambles of the South, as valuable servants. The clause
contemplates, then, the "service " of Southern servants, or slaves.
Q. In what sense is the term "due " to be taken in this clause?
A. Every person, it is presumed, of the least legal intelligence, is familiar with the
distinction between a claim in equity or a just claim, and a claim in law or a legal claim.
No slaveholder can have a just claim to his slave, and his service, as his property, in a
court of equity; but the law of the Southern states makes men slaves, and the will of the
people contemplates in this clause the legal claim o/the master, and determines to secure
him the service of his, runaway slave, DUE to him in love, by compelling the delivering
him up upon the claim of the master, when captured in a free state, to which he had
escaped, as he supposed, as to a place of refuge.
Q. Can any person be held to service or labour, but a slave?
A. No. No contract service is compellable of performance. No contract compels a man to
perform his promised service. The law holds him only in damages. Nobody is held to
service under any contract he can make. If he does not perform what he promises, he is
held to pay only; and not to be held then to the creditor. The creditor cannot hold him to
pay. He has to ask the law to. He is not "held to service" to anybody. To "hold him to
service" would itself make him a slave. The clause, therefore, means "slaves" only.
Q. Does not the phrase, "held under the laws, " prove the same point that slaves only are
meant by the clause?
A. Very clearly. The constitution contemplates a class held to service in a state under the
laws thereof, " and says further, what it would not say of any persons but slaves, or
any service but slave, service, that escaping from it into another state shall not discharge
the person from it by virtue of any laws in that state. There is no service a person is
holden to in any state under the laws thereof from which the laws of any other state
would discharge him, generally, but slave service. We have slave states and non-slave
states, but not pay states and non-pay states, contract states and non-contract states. The
obligations of contract in one state are obligations on the debtor in all other states. But the
constitution says there is a service under the laws of one state from which the laws of
another state will discharge a person if he runs there. This service is no other than
slave service; is that or none.
Q. Is any person liable by law to be delivered up to claimant but a Slave?
A. No. No person is liable by law to be delivered up to a claimant but a slave; but the
constitution speaks of delivering up to the claimant the person who owes the service by
the laws of the slave states, but not by the laws of other states. Such a person must then
be a slave. This can only be spoken of slaves, and anybody of whom it call be spoken, is
a slave. If the constitution means anybody but the negroe slaves, then it regards as slaves
the white folks of this country. It is an enslaving instrument.
Q. Does not the law of Congress, 1703, illustrate this clause of the constitution, and prove
that slaves only are meant?
A. Yes; conclusively. We quote the third section of the law, that this clause of the
constitution and it may be compared: "And be it further enacted that when a person
held to service for labour in any of the United States, or in any of the territories on the
north-west or south of the river Ohio, under the laws thereof, shall escape into any other
of the said states or territories, the person to whom such labour or service may be due, his
agent or attorney is hereby empowered to seize or arrest such fugitive from labour, and to
take him or her before any judge of the circuit or district courts of the United States,
residing or being within the state, or before any magistrate of a county, city or town
corporate, wherein such seizure or arrest shall be made and upon proof to the satisfaction
of such judge or magistrate, either by oral testimony or affidavit, taken before, certified
by a magistrate of any such state or territory, that the person so seized or arrested, doth,
under the laws of the state or territory, from which he or she fled, owe service or labour
to the person claiming him or her, it shall be the duty of such judge or magistrate to give
a certificate thereof to such a claimant, his agent or attorney, which shall be sufficient
warrant for removing the said fugitive from labour to the state or territory from which he
or she fled." All admit this law to be a slave-catching law, and nothing else. Yet the word
slave is not in it, but its phraseology describing the persons designed in it, is the exact
phraseology of the clause in the constitution. If the one is slave-catching, so is the other;
for the slave-catching law is the legitimate offspring of the enactment in the constitution;
and the only design of the law was to arrest and carry back into bondage the fugitive, and
for this purpose only has it been administered ever since its enactment. The
constitutionality of this, law has been decided by the Supreme Court of the United States
in the late case of Puff vs. Pennsylvania, and from this decision there is no appeal. It
must abide THE SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND.
Q. What proof have you that the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States is
final in this and similar matters, and that from its decision there is NO APPEAL?
A. Bayard, in his exposition of the constitution, thus declares the jurisdiction of the
Supreme Court. "The judicial power of the Union is declared to extend to all cases in law
and equity arising under the constitution (Const. Art. iii. sea 2, 1), and to the judicial
power it belongs whenever a case is presented before it, to determine what is the supreme
law of the land. And this power, in the last resort, is vested by the constitution in the
Supreme Court of the United Slates. And its decision must be final and conclusive;
because the constitution gives to that tribunal, power to decide, and has given, no appeal
from its decision: '-P. 122.
Q. What is the decision of this ultimate tribunal relative to the import and original design
of this clause of the constitution respecting fugitives from service ?
A. Its decision demonstrates the pro-slavery character of the clause, and is as follows: In
one of the decisions Judge STORY said, "Historically it is well known that the object of
this clause was to secure to the citizens of the slave-holding states THE COMPLETE
RIGHT AND TITLE OF OWNERSHIP IN THEIR SLAVES AS PROPERTY, IN
EVERY STATE OF THE UNION into which they might escape from the state wherein
they were held in servitude." "The full recognition of this right and title was
indispensable to the security of this species of property, in all the slave-holding states,
and, indeed, was so vital to the preservation of their interests and institutions, that it
cannot be doubted that it constitutes a fundamental article, without the adoption of which
the Union would not have been formed. Its true design was to guard against the doctrines
and principles prevalent in the non-slaveholding states, by preventing them from
intermeddling with, or restricting, or abolishing the rights of owners of slaves. "
Again. "The clause was therefore of the last importance to the safety and security of the
Southern states, and could not be surrendered by them without endangering their whole
property in slaves. The clause was therefore adopted in the constitution by the unanimous
consent of the framers of it. A proof at once of its intrinsic and practical necessity."
Again. " The clause manifestly contemplates the existence of a positive unqualified right
on, the part of the owner of the slave, which no state law or regulation can in any way
regulate, control, or restrain. "
JUDGE BALDWIN, in charging the jury, said, "If there are any rights of property
which can be enforced-if one citizen have any rights of property which are inviolable
UNDER THE PROTECTION OF THE SUPREME LAW OF THE STATE AND THE
UNION, they are these which have been set at naught by some of these defendants. As
the owner of property which he had a perfect right to possess, protect, and take away, as a
citizen of a sister state, entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens of any
other state-Mr. Johnson stands before you on ground which cannot be taken from under
him; it is the same ground upon which the government itself is based. If the defendants
can be justified, we have no longer law or government. " Again, after referring more
particularly to the provision for delivering up fugitive slaves, he Said, " Thus you see that
the foundations o* the government are laid and rest on the right of property in slaves.
THE WHOLE STRUCTURE MUST FALL BY DISTURBING THE CORNER-
STONE." Thus slavery is a CORNER-STONE of the government— a column in the temple
Q. How does Bayard interpret this clause?
A. "This provision," says Bayard, "relates to that class of men who are held in bondage
in some of the States, and are sometimes tempted to escape into the non-slaveholding
states, in the hope of regaining their freedom by that means. These states might be
induced, by views of humanity, or other motives, to shelter the fugitives and throw
obstacles in the way of their recovery. This, if allowed, would be a constant source of
dissension between the states, and might lead to the most serious consequences. The
holding of slaves is a domestic concern with which other states ought not to interfere, and
as long as it is permitted in any of the states, the peace of the country requires that the
rights of the masters should be respected. This, therefore, is a wise provision. Without it,
the Southern states would, probably, not have consented to the union."
Q. What is the opinion of James Madison, who, of all men, had the best opportunity to
know, as to the legitimate construction of this clause?
A. Thus this celebrated man delivered his opinion upon this clause in the Virginia
convention for the adoption of the constitution: "Another clause secures us that property
which we now possess. At present (under the old confederacy) if any slave elopes to those
states where slaves are free, he becomes emancipated by their laws; for the laws of the
states are uncharitable to one another in this respect. But in this constitution ' no person
held to service or labour in one state, under the laws thereof, shall, in consequence of any
law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labour, but shall be
delivered up on claim of the party to which such service or labour may be due. ' THIS
CLAUSE WAS EXPRESSLY INSERTED TO ENABLE OWNERS OF SLAVES TO
RECLAIM THEM. This is a better security than any that now exists. " Thus plainly
speaks a member of the Convention that framed the constitution, and by whose
arguments in its illustration, the Virginia convention is influenced to adopt it.
Q. What says General Randolph as to its true meaning?
A. He thus briefly delivers his opinion as a member both of the United States and
Virginia conventions. "Every one knows that slaves are held to service or labour; and
when authority is given to vindicate their property can they (the owners of slaves) be
deprived of it?"
Q. Does not this clause, therefore, sanction, by all the force of the supreme law, the
odious sin of slavery?
A. Of this there can be no doubt in the impartial mind. The clause was: "Expressly
inserted" to give a power not before possessed to owners of slaves TO RECLAIM
THEM-to "give them authority to vindicate their property. " This is full sanction of
slavery-the strongest ratification of the alleged rights of the master. Ah! I go not to the
panders of immoral power and the worshippers of an idol for a just answer to the inquiry-
Is not this sanction? But go to the slave — go to yonder weeping one, who thought he had
escaped to a city of refuge, but by the authority of this clause of the United States
constitution is now seized, reclaimed, rebound, to be dragged back to the land of chains,
and whips, and horrid gashes in the flesh, and iron yokes with spikes, applied in the
"tender mercy" of that personification of the dignity of human nature, the overseer! Ask
this wretched being as he writhes under the torture inflicted because he dared to assert his
rights in the attempt to regain his liberty, ask him if this is sanction? — and raising his
manacled hands to heaven, in the agony of a bursting heart, he will exclaim- YES, this is
sanction, I FEEL IT TO BE SANCTION!
Q. Is not the fugitive slave law of 1850, a further illustration of this pro-slavery clause of
A. Yes. An ample and fearful illustration.
Q. What is its substance?
A. Its Substance is in a principal clause contained in Sec. 4. This clause makes it the duty
of the commissioners, appointed by the act to adjudicate in the matter, "to grant
certificates to such claimants upon Satisfactory proof being made, with authority to take
and remove such fugitive from service or labour, under the restrictions herein contained,
to the state or territory from which such persons may have escaped or fled." It is a fearful
restoration of the peremptory injunction of the constitution-the /wg/ft've shall be delivered
up upon claim of the party to whom such service or labour is due.
Q. Have you any additional evidence of the sanction of slavery by the constitution of the
A. I have-and adduce Art. iv, sec. 4th; and Art, i. sec. 8 . By the former, "every state in
this Union is guaranteed protection by the United States, 'against domestic violence. " '
By the latter, "Congress is empowered 'to provide for calling forth the militia to execute
the laws of the Union, to suppress insurrection and repel invasions!" These provisions,
however strictly they may apply to cases of disturbance among the white population,
were adopted with reference to the slave population, for the purpose of keeping them in
subjection by the combined military force of the country; and were these repealed, and
the South left to manage her slaves as best she could, a servile insurrection would ere
long be the consequence, as general, as it would be unquestionably successful.
Q. What evidence have you of the correctness of this interpretation of these clauses?
A. 1. James Madison: He says, respecting these clauses, "On application of the
legislature or executive, as the case may be, the militia of the other states are to be called
to suppress domestic insurrections. Does this bar the states from calling forth their own
militia? No, but it gives supplementary security to suppress insurrections and domestic
violence. " 2. In answer to Patrick Henry's objection, as urged against the constitution in
the Virginian convention that there was no power left to the states to quell an insurrection
of slaves, for it was wholly invested in Congress, GEORGE NICHOLAS asked, "Have
they it now? If they have, does the constitution take it away? If it does, it must be in one
of these clauses which have been mentioned by the worthy member. The first gives the
general government power to call them out when necessary. Does this take away from the
states? No. But it gives additional security; for besides the power in the state government
to use their own militia, it will be the duty of the general government TO AID THEM
WITH THE STRENGTH OF THE UNION WHEN CALLED FOR." 3. LUTHER
MARTIN testifies to the same point. "It was further urged (in argument against the pro-
slavery features of the constitution), that by this system of government, every state was to
be protected both from foreign invasions, and domestic insurrections; that from this
consideration it was of the utmost importance it should have a power to restrain the
importation of slaves, since in proportion as the number of slaves were increased in any
state, in the same proportion the state is weakened, and exposed to foreign invasion and
domestic insurrection, and by so much less will it be able to protect itself against either;
and therefore will by so much the more be a burden to the union. "
Q. Has not this view of these clauses been exemplified — and is it not demonstrated that
they are the stronghold of slavery?
A. Yes. This solemn guarantee of security to the slave system, caps the climax of national
barbarity, and stains with human blood the garments of all the people. In consequence of
it, that system has multiplied its victims from five hundred thousand to nearly three
millions — a vast amount of new territory has been purchased in order to give it extension
and perpetuity-several new slave states have been admitted to the union -the slave trade
has been made one of the articles of commerce — the slave population, though over
worked, starved, lacerated, branded, maimed, and subjected to every form of deprivation,
and every species of torture, have been overawed and crushed; or, whenever they have
attempted to gain their liberty by revolt, they have been shot down and quelled by the
strong arm of the national government; as, for example, in the case of Nat Turner's
insurrection in Virginia, when the naval and military forces of the government were
called into active service. Cuban bloodhounds have been purchased with the money of
the people, and imported and used to hunt slave fugitives among the everglades of
Florida. A merciless warfare has been waged for the extermination and expulsion of the
Florida Indians, because they gave succour to these poor hunted fugitives-a warfare
which has cost the nation several thousand lives, and forty millions of dollars-and the late
war with Mexico was waged, unquestionably, to extend the area of slavery.
Q. Have you any additional argument demonstrating the national sanction of slavery?
A. Yes. I adduce Art. i. sec. 8, clause 8. "Congress shall have power to regulate
commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes."
Bayard, on the Constitution, says, "The exclusive regulation of commerce with foreign
nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes, is also confided to Con-
gress. This was obviously proper, as the management of all concerns with foreign
nations, and a general superintendence over domestic affairs, constitute the peculiar
province of the national government, and were the principal objects of its establishment, "
p. 49. Slaves are an article of commerce among different states. The domestic slave trade
is therefore under the general superintendence of the national government. It regulates
this part of domestic affairs as its "peculiar province. " The domestic slave-trader is
protected in this "infamous traffic" by "the stripes and stars". The stars of freedom shine
with a benignant lustre upon the domestic slave-ship, as she ploughs the ocean with her
burden of woe; but they emit no ray of gladness to cheer the bosom of the helpless
tenants of her hold.
Q. Has not Congress the right to abolish the domestic slave trade?
A. This is exceedingly doubtful. Mr. Madison says, "No power is given to the general
government to interfere with respect to the property in slaves now held by the states."
The constitution views the slave as property, as proved above, and authorizes the
slaveholder to vindicate his property-in a free State. Now all property may be sold, and
therefore become an article of commerce. It would seem a just conclusion, that the
slaveholding states have a constitutional right to traffic in slave property among
themselves — the inter-state slave trade is constitutional-and Congress, whilst it has a right
to regulate, would seem to have no right, without the consent of the slaveholding state, to
abolish this nefarious and inhuman traffic.
Q. Does not the amendment to the constitution, which is in these words, "Nor shall any
person be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law," prove the
constitution to be an anti-slavery instrument?
A. By no means. The only one of these three possession which the slave can at all be said
to possess, is life; yet, his living energies are his master's. If he forfeits his life-and in the
slave states in more than 70 ways he may do so-he has always, until Judge Lynch erected
his tribunal, been deprived thereof by " due process of law." But liberty and property he
legally possess not. "He can possess nothing, nor acquire anything, " says the slave code,
" but what must belong to his master. " This was his condition when this amendment was
enacted, and has been his condition ever since. It was never enacted for him. How will
you undertake to deprive a man of that of which he is not possessed? The slave has
neither liberty nor property, and you cannot deprive him of either by "due process of
law," or otherwise. How common sense breaks the meshes of the web of subtleties?
Q. Is not this provision of the constitution, compelling the delivering up of the fugitive
slave to his master, from whose tyranny he had escaped, a direct violation of the law of
A. Yes. It is a direct violation, Deut. xxiii. 15, 16. "Thou shalt not deliver unto his master
the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee : he shall dwell with thee, even
among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him
best: thou shalt not oppress him."
Q. What action has the Reformed Presbyterian Church taken upon American slavery?
A. She has made it a term of communion. Her decision is, "No slaveholder is admitted
into her communion." Test, part i. P. 155. The resolution of the committee of presbytery
sent to the South to purge the church of this evil, is in the following terms: "Resolved,
That enslaving these our African brethren is an evil of enormous magnitude; and no one
who continues in so gross a departure from humanity and the dictates of our benevolent
religion, can have any claim to communion in this church."
The following note was sent to each individual implicated in this enormous evil. "Sir :
You are hereby informed that none can have communion in this church who hold slaves.
You must therefore immediately have it registered legally that your slaves are freed,
before the ensuing sacrament. If any difficulty arises to you in the manner of doing it,
then you are desired to apply to the committee of Presbytery, who will give directions in
any circumstances of a doubtful nature in which you may be involved in carrying this in-
junction into execution."
In her Testimony, part ii. pp. 119 and 152, she emphatically denies " That a
constitution of government which deprives unoffending men of liberty and property, is a
moral institution to be recognised as God's ordinance;" and declines allegiance to the
United States Government, because ' It establishes that system of robbery by which men
are held in slavery, despoiled of liberty, and property, and protection. It violates the
principle of representation, by bestowing upon the domestic tyrant who holds hundreds of
his fellow creatures in bondage, an influence in- making laws for freemen proportioned to
the number of his own slaves".
Q. Will not God "judge and avenge" the blood of the slave upon such a nation as this?
A. As God is just he will: what he did to the oppressors of old he will do now. "Thus
saith the Lord: even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the
terrible be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will
save thy children, and I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh ; and they
shall be drunken with their own blood as with sweet wine, and all flesh shall know that I
am the Lord thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty one of Jacob." "Arise, O Lord,
for the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, and set him in safety from
him that presseth at him." "Arise, oh sovereign Judge of the nations, judge the fatherless
and the OPPRESSED, THAT THE MEN OF THE EARTH MAY NO MORE
Q. Is there not some evidence in the Signs of the times that God is now judging this
nation, and will ere long deluge it with blood?
A. Yes. The signs of the times indicate that the prophecy of John Quincy Adams may
soon be fulfilled. " The delegates," said that distinguished man, "of the free states (in the
national convention), in their extreme anxiety to conciliate the ascendancy of the
Southern slaveholders, did listen to a compromise between right and wrong-between
freedom and slavery, of the ultimate fruits of which they had no conception, but which
already, even now, is urging the Union to its inevitable ruin and depopulation, by a cavil,
servile, foreign and Indian war, all combined in one; a war, the essential issue of which
will be between freedom and slavery, and in which the unhallowed standard of slavery
will be the desecrated banner of the North American Union -that banner first unfurled to
the breeze inscribed with the self-evident truths of the Declaration of Independence."
APPLICATION OF THE TESTIMONY TO THE BRITISH EMPIRE.
Q. What is the present position of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in the British Isles,
in relation to the civil institutions of those kingdoms?
A. It is that of avowed dissent, and of faithful testimony against the immoralities in the
civil constitutions of those kingdoms.
Q. Upon what ground did the Steadfast band of witnesses for the covenanted reformation
in Scotland, adopt the position of dissent from the civil government of these lands, as
well as from the churches which were at once established and corrupted by it?
A. The extreme tyranny of the government then in existence was only one of the grounds
on which they rested that dissent. They further complained, that the government was
erected on the ruins of a scriptural reformation, to the preservation of which these nations
were solemnly bound: that the ecclesiastical were the mere creatures of the State; and
that the principles and the policy of the great Romish apostasy were so conspicuous in the
constitution and administration of both church and state, as to stamp the whole with the
character of Antichrist.
Q. Wore matters altered much for the better at the memorable revolution?
A. At the revolution, these nations adopted and acted upon the views of the covenanters
in regard to the first ground of complaint only. The tyrannical government was
indignantly overthrown, and one of a much more equitable and moderate character was
substituted in its stead. But while the public spirit and energy of the nations were dis-
played in shaking off the yoke of oppression, and in asserting their own rights, no
effectual attempt was made to vindicate the rights of the Redeemer. The covenanters
were not ungrateful for the large increase of liberty and privilege secured to them by the
revolution; but they could not accede to an arrangement, however beneficial to
themselves, of which these were made essential conditions: That the crown rights of the
Messiah should be compromised, and the antichristian corruptions interwoven with the
constitution, both of church and state, should remain undisturbed.
Q. What is the first specific exception which Reformed Presbyterians in Britain take to
the British constitution?
A. In their own language, they explicitly state as their first objection to the British
constitution, That there is no direct or explicit acknowledgment of the supreme authority
of the scriptures in the constitution and administration of civil government in these lands.
In the actual administration of the government of these kingdoms, it seems to us that this
principle has been practically disregarded. It does not appear that the responsibility of
nations to the moral governor of the world is fully understood or felt. No strenuous
attempt has heretofore been made, by almost any class of society, to select men
possessing scriptural qualifications to occupy the halls of legislature, or to fill public
offices; and it has rarely occurred, we believe, that any course of policy has been
abandoned, merely because it was condemned in the word of God. Here we rest our first
complaint, that the authority of Jehovah is virtually set aside, while the homage and
allegiance of the nations have been tendered to the great idol of POLITICAL
Q. What is their second ground of dissent?
A. At no period, say they, since the revolution, have these nations and their rulers
formally acquiesced in the divine decree which has invested the exalted Messiah with the
government of the nations: "Be wise now, therefore, O ye kings; be instructed, ye judges
of the earth ; serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be
angry, and ye perish from the way". We know of nothing, either in the deeds of
constitution, or in the administration of the government of these kingdoms, which can
justly be regarded as a proper acquiescence in this authoritative appointment. There is no
formal recognition of the supremacy of Christ, as Mediator, over the nations ; no
acknowledgment of those vows of allegiance that were formerly pledged to him in the
period of the Reformation; no care employed to make the interest of his kingdom the
primary object of concern. The favour that has been extended to churches in these lands
has been manifestly vicious in its principle, and has tended to corrupt these churches,
rather than to advance the cause of religion.
Q. What is the third ground of this dissent?
A. With these evils may be conjoined the open and arrogant invasion of Christ's
supremacy over his church. He has solemnly commanded his disciples to own no other
master. He claims the exclusive right of prescribing a government and laws to his church;
and there is not a single hint in the sacred volume of his having appointed an
ecclesiastical viceroy to whom he has delegated his own authority. The usurpation of
such a dominion constitutes one of the highest charges against the Man of Sin. Yet
according to the statute laws of the empire, an Erastian supremacy over the churches of
England and Ireland is held to be an essential right of the British crown.
Q. What evidence is there of this unhallowed claim?
A. "The king," says Blackstone, and of course the queen, too, "is considered by the laws
of England as the head, and supreme governor of the national church." The Papal
jurisdiction in England was destroyed by Parliament upon the express ground that "the
king's majesty justly and rightly is, and ought to be, supreme head of the church of
England." The first of Elizabeth enacts that, "all jurisdictions, spiritual and ecclesiastical,
should for ever be united to the imperial crown." And in her 37th Article, the church
endorses the impious claim. It runs thus: "The king's majesty hath the chief power in this
realm of England, unto whom the chief government of all the estates of this realm,
whether they be ecclesiastical or Civil, IN ALL CAUSES, doth appertain. " Thus do both
church and state agree in declaring it to be a fundamental principle of the constitution,
that the king or queen is supreme head in all causes civil and ecclesiastical. A more
grossly unscriptural element, therefore, has been introduced into the church of England
than is to be found in that of Rome. In the fearful impiety in making a sinful mortal head
of the church, indeed, both have concurred; but then the head of the church of Rome must
be an ecclesiastic, and a man-female popes are not esteemed quite canonical-whereas the
head of the church of England is a lay or civil person ; and may be a man, a women, or a
child ! ! ! Her erastianism, therefore, is emblazoned on her very forehead.
Q. Has a copious stream of erastian encroachment flowed from this polluted fountain of
A. Yes. Her clergy, for instance, have all their authority to rule and, ordain from the
sovereign. In 37 Henry VIII. cap. 17, it is declared, that "archbishops, bishops,
archdeacons, and other ecclesiastical persons, have no manner of jurisdiction
ecclesiastical, but by, under, and from his royal majesty ; and that his majesty is the only
supreme head of the church of England and Ireland." Words could not more explicitly
declare that instead of having their authority from the Lord Jesus Christ, these dignitaries
derive it immediately from a poor erring mortal. Hence, also, the clergy cannot meet in
convocation, or enact anything, or perform any act of ecclesiastical discipline, without
her majesty's authority and permission; and the appointment of all bishops belongs to the
sovereign, &c, &c.
Q. Does the power of the state to model and remodel, to overturn and reconstruct the
church at pleasure, to decree rites and ceremonies in her, to form canons for the regula-
tion of her government, to select the persons who shall fill all her most important offices,
and even to determine her confession and creed, therefore remain undisputable?
A. Yes. All this is evident from the above statutory enactments.
Q. Is it not at once repugnant to religion and to common sense, that the church of Christ
should be thus subjected to the arbitrary will, or caprice, of a legislative assembly, com-
posed of Protestants and Papists, of Christians and libertines, of sincere believers and
scoffing infidels, and in which the enemies of religion so greatly outnumber her friends?
A. Yes; and every upright Christian should bear testimony against such enormity.
Q. What is the fourth ground of dissent of Reformed Presbyterians in Britain from the
A. The support that has been extended by the state to the church, however munificent, has
been so managed that the cause of true religion has been more injured than promoted by
Q. How is this charge sustained?
A. It is sustained, 1 . By the fact that this support has been lavished most abundantly on
those Protestant churches which have been most inefficient and corrupt: and even in them
it has been employed to pamper luxury and gratify ambition, while a large portion of
those ministers by whom pastoral duties were actually performed, have been left to
struggle with poverty, and multitudes of the people to perish through lack of knowledge.
2. It has invariably been used as an instrument for reducing the church into a condition of
political subserviency. The revenues of the church have been dealt with as a spoil, which
civil rulers have distributed among their political partisans and supporters. They have
been employed to sustain a lordly aristocracy, rather than to feed the people with the
bread of life. They have largely contributed to silence the voice of faithful remonstrance,
which it is the duty of the church to raise against the iniquitous measures of public men,
and to influence the clergy to inculcate upon the people lessons of indiscriminate and
slavish submission, whatever aggressions have been made upon their liberties-civil or
religious. 3. The mode of levying the revenues of the church, both in England and
Ireland, has been unhappily calculated to excite odium against her and her ministers, and
to call into exercise a class of passions exceedingly unfavourable to the progress of the
gospel. 4. The principle upon which that bounty has been bestowed upon the churches is
essentially corrupt and vicious. In all the measures of government respecting the church,
we have searched in vain for any higher principle than political expediency as the prime
mover. It is impossible to believe that an enlightened regard to the authority of God, a
discriminating love of divine truth, an earnest desire for the promotion of true religion,
can dispose a government to patronize every system of religion-be it true or false. Yet it
does not appear that the British government, since the Revolution, have ever withheld its
fostering care from any religious system, merely on the ground of its falsehood.
Presbyterianism is conceded to the inclinations of the people in Scotland ; Episcopacy,
more in favour with men in power, is established in England and Ireland, and more richly
endowed than any church in Europe. But when a wretched expediency seems to require
it, Popery is taken under the fostering care of government in the Ionian Isles ; its corrupt-
ing seminary at Maynooth magnificently endowed; successive companies of its priests
directly supported from the public treasury, sent out to propagate its destructive errors in
the British colonies, and it is honoured with a legal establishment in Lower Canada! Nor
is the climax of inconsistency and iniquity complete, until the functionaries of a
Protestant government are degraded into tax-gatherers for the wooden gods of Hindostan,
and the priests of a debasing and bloody superstition!
Q. Which is the fifth ground of their dissent?
A. In the domestic policy of these nations, there are many things which awaken regret
and merit reprehension. While millions have been expended in destructive wars, the
education of the people has been neglected. Until a very recent period, this has been
lamentably the case both in England and Ireland. An irreligious government, and an
ambitious and pampered church, have looked on with equal apathy, while successive
generations have grown up in the grossest ignorance. In England a revenue has been
expended annually on cathredrals and on the swarms of idle ecclesiastics that, are
attached to them, which, under judicious management, might have secured the education
of all the poor in that kingdom. From the extensive prevalence of ignorance has arisen a
most frightful growth of infidelity and of crime. How little has been done to check the
alarming progress of the national sin of Sabbath profanation? With this may be joined the
apparent apathy with which government has contemplated, from age to age, the dreadful
ravages of intemperance. The views we have adopted of the office and duty of witnesses,
imperatively called for-these remarks.
Q. What is the general summary which these witnesses give of the reasons of their dissent
from the British constitution? .
A. They remark: The guilt and danger of holding-fellowship with the principles, or the
policy of the Antichristian system-with the head or the horns of the beast-are represented
in Scripture as of such magnitude, that no temporal loss nor suffering can counterbalance
them. (Rev. xvii. 3, 12, 13.) Under these impressions, we cannot proclaim attachment,
nor vow allegiance to institutions which many good men extol and admire:-l s . Because,
in viewing them by the light of scripture, we believe them to be immoral. 2 n . Because we
hold them to be Antichristian. 3 . Because they were erected on the ruins of a more
excellent system, both in church and state, and in opposition to those solemn vows, by
which these nations were pledged to preserve that system inviolate. 4 . Because the
immoralities of existing institutions were originally introduced, and are still upheld, in
opposition to the clearest light of revelation with which any people were ever favoured.
Q. In what manner do these witnesses illustrate practically their dissent?
A. This explanation of our sentiments, say they, will supply the reason why we do not
adopt those forms of prayer for the government of these lands, which are publicly pre-
scribed, or commonly used throughout the churches. We fully recognise the obligation
that lies on us, to pray for the peace and prosperity of the land that sustains, and for the
temporal and spiritual welfare of all classes of its inhabitants. Towards the persons of the
rulers we cherish no feeling but that of unfeigned good will. Our heart's desire and prayer
to God for them is that they may be saved. But we cannot warrantably employ forms of
prayer that would even seem to express approbation of institutions which we believe to
be essentially defective and immoral. We cannot pray for the stability of a system which,
as long as it is unreformed, is dishonouring to Christ, and an impediment to the coming of
his kingdom. The same reasons are still more cogent to forbid our being incorporated or
united with the state, so as to become accomplices in, or morally responsible for, its
iniquitous public policy. Such as are in ecclesiastical fellowship with us, cannot, without
a breach of their testimony, hold fellowship with the civil' government, by composing a
part of the legislature, or by taking those oaths, for the maintenance and defence of the
complex constitution, which are required of members of Parliament and others filling
public offices, both in church and state. And as the members of our church cannot sit in
Parliament themselves, neither can they, consistently, sit there by their representatives, or
commission others to do for them what it would be unwarrantable and immoral for them
to do in their own persons. Neither can they compose a part of the executive government,
by holding offices under the crown, civil or military, which might require them to co-
operate in carrying into practice any branch of an unscriptural code of law. Yet we do not
feel debarred from doing what may be in our power, as private individuals, for
strengthening those wholesome laws which are necessary for the security of life and
property, or for promoting the administration of justice, when permitted to do so without
being identified with a corrupt constitution. Should these principles -subject us to the
charge of uncharitableness or want of patriotism, we would study to confute the charge
by the blamelessness of our deportment, and by a life of active benevolence.
Q. Will not Christ's mediatorial dominion cease "when he shall have delivered up the
kingdom (1 Cor. xv. 24, 27, 28) to God, even the Father," when he shall have judged the
world at the last day?
A. The passage referred to relates to the account which the Mediatorial King shall render
to the Father of his administration of the kingdom of providence with which he had been
invested-but his mediatorial dominion shall not then cease, but he shall continue for ever
to rule as Mediator-as the Father's delegated king, because only in his character of
Mediator can the SON (the Father's equal, essentially, in power and glory) " be subject
unto the Father. " As the Father's Mediatorial servant, therefore, he shall reign over the
kingdom of heaven for evermore in fellowship with his saints-for " if we suffer with him,
WE SHALL RFIGN WITH HIM."
Q. How do you prove that his Mediatorial dominion will be perpetual or eternal?
A. That his Mediatorial dominion is ETERNAL is proved by many arguments, of which
we advance but two. 1. Scripture declarations. Dan. vii., "His dominion (the Son of
Man's-Chnst's) is AN EVERLASTING dominion, which SHALL NOT PASS AWAY,
and his kingdom that which SHALL NOT BE DESTROYED." Luke 1. 33, "HE SHALL
REIGN OVFR THE HOUSE OF JACOB FOR EVER, AND OF HIS KINGDOM
THERE SHALL BE NO END." 2 Peter i. 11, "An entrance shall be ministered to you
abundantly UNTO THE EVERLASTING KINGDOM of our Lord and Saviour JESUS
CHRIST." 2. His title KING OF GLORY. This title belongs to Christ, for he is called, 1
Cor. n. 8, "THE LORD OF GLORY, who was CRUCIFIED" James n. 1, "Have not the
faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the LORD OF GLORY, with respect of persons." To him
then applies the sublime title employed in a psalm which celebrates his ascension-THE
KINO OF GLORY. He who reigns over the state of heavenly felicity, as the regulator
and dispenser of the joys of celestial bliss FOR EVER AND FOR EVER. Myriads of
angelic - heralds, as they demand admission for him within the portals of the celestial
palace, shout, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and
the King of glory shall come in". And when the question is propounded, "Who is this
King of glory?" they meet it with the unhesitating response, "The Lord of Hosts, HE IS
THE KING OF GLORY". Psa. xxiv. 7-10.